Solomon Hill to Sign with Pelicans: Contract Details, Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2016

Indiana Pacers' Solomon Hill (44) in action during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA first-round playoff basketball series against the Toronto Raptors, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans struck on Friday in free agency, reaching an agreement with small forward Solomon Hill.

Hill took to Twitter to thank the Pacers and their fans for his time there: 

Solomon Hill @solohill

Thank you to the city of Indianapolis, the Pacers & the Simon family for making my dream of being an NBA player come true!

ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the deal, with The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Hill will sign a four-year deal worth $52 million. 

The Pelicans are paying a hefty price for a player who started just three of 59 games last season with the Indiana Pacers. 

In his three seasons in the NBA, all with the Pacers, Hill has averaged six points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting just under 41 percent from the field.

On a day that's seen a number of big contracts handed out, CBS Sports' Chris Towers didn't agree with this one:

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Nixon @CTowersCBS

Okay, yeah. Solomon Hill definitely isn't 4 years, $52 million good. I'm confident of that at least.

New Orleans, though, doesn't have many better options at the small forward position. Quincy Pondexter hasn't appeared in a game since the 2014-15 season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, while both Alonzo Gee and Dante Cunningham averaged fewer than seven points per game in 2015-16. 

At 25 years old, Hill does have the potential to start in New Orleans. In his one season as Indiana's starting 3 in 2014-15, he averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Stein noted that the Pelicans have big plans for him:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Solomon Hill was a prime free-agent target for the Pelicans, who want to slot him in as their new two-way small forward

Hill is a subpar shooter from distance who won't top 33 percent from three-point range, but he's an athletic player who can do some damage inside the arc:

That athleticism could make him a valuable asset on the defensive end for the Pelicans. He can defend stretch 3s on the wing but is also strong enough to follow them down low. 

He's had a positive defensive win shares rating in each of his three seasons in the league as well, posting a 2.6 mark in 2014-15, which was fourth on the Pacers. 

With a franchise player like Anthony Davis and a prospective explosive scorer in Buddy Hield—and if Ryan Anderson doesn't depart in free agencythe Pelicans won't need Hill to be an impact player on the offensive side of the ball. 

But a player who can put up close to 10 points per night and provide solid defense for a team that allowed over 106 points per game last season could be invaluable for a Pelicans team that is trying to become a contender in the Western Conference. 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com


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