The Milwaukee Bucks have traded Matthew Dellavedova to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the deal, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Dellavedova is being sent to Cleveland alongside John Henson, Milwaukee’s 2021 first-round and 2021 second-round draft picks in exchange for George Hill and Sam Dekker.
Dellavedova, who won an NBA Championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, lost his place in the Bucks rotation this season under new head coach Mike Budenholzer. With the Australian not contributing on the court, trading Dellavedova – and his contract for next season, which will pay him $9.5 million – is a financially motivated decision for Milwaukee.
Sending both Dellavedova and Henson to Cleveland allows Milwaukee to clear $18 million in cap space for the 2019-20 NBA season. Hill’s contract is only guaranteed for one million dollars in 2019-20, meaning Milwaukee can create additional cap space as they attempt to further build around Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In Hill, the Bucks get a combo-guard who can, in theory, complement Antetokounmpo in a manner similar to what he did around LeBron James last season.
Thon Maker could be a major benefactor of this deal, as Henson’s departure opens up a clear role for the Sudanese born Australian. Henson started the season as Brook Lopez’s reserve, and Maker had only been receiving minutes of late because of Henson being out with a hand injury.
Dellavedova will now head back to Cleveland, and a Cavaliers team that is firmly in the race for lottery seeding. While there is some sentiment in the Cavaliers bringing Dellavedova back to his first NBA home, the real prize for them in this deal is Milwaukee’s draft picks.
Dellavedova, on his current contract, is a negative asset. The draft capital forsaken by Milwaukee is essentially the tax for dumping both the Dellavedova and Henson contracts.
Importantly for Cleveland, completing the trade today means all players involved in the deal are eligible to be traded again before the February 7 deadline. This is vital, especially with regards to Dellavedova. The Cavaliers can now look to aggregate his contract before the deadline and move him for an even worse asset, to collect further draft capital.