UPDATE: Well, the decision has become official:
Lakers declined their team option on Jordan Hill
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 29, 2015
With Hill’s contract now off the books, the Lakers will have an estimated $22-24 million to play with in free agency. Which path they choose when trying to spend that money remains to be seen, but this move hints at their want to try and make a big splash when July 1st rolls around.
(Originally posted on June 19th)
With all the focus on next week’s NBA draft, it is easy to forget the Lakers have another decision pending besides who they select with the #2 overall pick. Before June 30th, they must also decide whether or not to exercise the team option they control on Jordan Hill’s contract, an option which would pay him $9 million next season.
According Adrian Wojnarowski, however, that decision is basically made:
As the Los Angeles Lakers maneuver to free $24 million-plus of salary cap space for summer free agency, the franchise is unlikely to exercise the option on forward Jordan Hill’s contract for the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Lakers are not obligated to make a final determination on the $9 million owed on Hill’s contract before June 30, but momentum is strong that they’ll allow Hill to enter into free agency, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Wojnarowski goes on to explain the Lakers want to chase top tier free agents (including LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Goran Dragic) and will use the money saved from Hill’s contract to try and lure a high level addition.
If they are unsuccessful in these pursuits, they could always try to re-sign Hill (likely to a contract paying him less money), chase other role players with some or all of that cap space, or roll over that money to the summer of 2016 when other top available free agents (namely a certain OKC small forward) will hit the market.
That’s down the line, of course, but the planning for such moves must be done now and the Lakers, with cap space looming, Kobe’s contract set to expire after the upcoming season, and the cap making a big jump next summer (and in future ones), would be wise to plan their path back to contention now with all those variables contributing to their decisions.
The other option, of course, would be to pick up Hill’s option, only to try and trade him. Due to the nature of Hill’s contract and the fact he’d lose his Bird Rights if traded, he has veto power over any deal if his option is not picked up first. This fact complicates any deal and, likely kills any chance the Lakers pursue this route without having advanced talks with teams leading up to the draft where a swap with a team seeking a veteran player of Hill’s stature might want to make a move. This, though, is further complicated by the rules which govern trades. The Lakers would undoubtedly need to take on some salary in any return Hill brought, defeating the purpose of why you’d move Hill in the first place (the salary savings).
So, as it stands (and as Wojnarowaski reported), this likely means letting Hill explore the market this summer and using those savings towards player(s) who can make a bigger impact. We will no for sure by June 30th, however.
Craig W. says
I think it is unlikely that Hill’s contract is picked up by the Lakers. Everyone involved – including Hill – understood this when the contract was signed last year. Hill got $9M and a chance to further rehabilitate his image. If the Lakers didn’t need the money this year, but wanted to defer it to next year, he got a 2nd $9M – not a bad deal for he and his agent. Also, the Lakers have given him enough playing time that he was able to develop and show other teams he belonged on an NBA roster.
Therefore, I don’t think there is any bad blood between the player and the organization. I suspect they may have already informed him of their decision, unless they are still not sure what they are going to do – fairly unlikely, unless they are waiting on the draft. Should they want to resign him, I suspect he will give serious attention to any Laker offer, but for now he is not on the team 1 July.
Nik Kannan says
I agree – This will be a necessary decision, though I do like Jordan Hill.
My question is – if we decline the option on the 9m for 2015-16, are we even allowed to sign him to a different offer for next season?
No big surprise, but this may give a little indication on the tea$m’s intentions on the 25th. Okafor. That said, I think ideally Hill would accept, say $6m from the team for next year and go back to playing 25 min a night possibly off the bench and focus on rebounding, interior scoring & finishing and protecting the rim. He’d be a pretty good suplement to Okafor in this regard. Of course there’s also Davis to consider and Black.
rr will be happy. Upon further scouting Mudiay has jumped Winslow and is now number one on my board.
Mudiay would be no. 3 on my list behind the two bigs….he has a near nba ready body, great vision, knows life as a pro due to his year in china (where he finished the season despite an injury, which to me shows great character and an understanding that this is his job and not his hobby) and most important has all one needs to be an nba superstar…still, i would pass, cause i think that those 2 bigs have all-time great written all over them
rr will be happy. Upon further scouting Mudiay has jumped Winslow and is now number one on my board.
Heh. I think Mudiay has a chance to be special. I was always a big John Wall, fan, too, and I still like him.
But I think there is basically zero chance that the Lakers take him at 2, although I would be good with it if they did.
No news here, keep moving along …
Jordan is a backup PF/C and not worth the $9/mil salary. He and Davis are similar players and Ed is younger, more durable and can be resigned for less. If the Lakers go small (Russell or Mudiay) in the draft, its likely that Davis will be the Lakers starting center. That may not be a bad thing.
See I think he is John Wall with better coordination. He also looks to have more muscularity. But he just seems so coordinated. He seems almost Chris Paul in his movements.
I really looked at Winslow and Mudiay closely. My wife is going to let me look at all the prospects like that one night this week.
Nik Kannan says
Anyone else watching the 2014 McDonald’s All-American game?
Matthew Hunt says
Oh thank goodness. This was honestly the offseason move I was most worried about, including signing Rondo (which I’m hoping is now also off the board).
Hill can fill up a stat sheet, and as a back-up/role player on a team where he’s nowhere near the most talented player, could be a valuable contributor.
But the game he plays, when featured, doesn’t win you games, and his basketball IQ (the “intangibles” that don’t show up on a stat sheet) are way too low to have him be a featured part of a team.
Am I crazy to be very excited about the possibilities over the next 5-ish years with a frontcourt of Randle, Davis (assuming we can re-sign him), Black, Okafor (or even KAT), plus Sacre as a deep-bench/locker room guy, and maybe a veteran mentor to help stabilize for the first year or two (an Elton Brand-esque type)…that sounds like a frontcourt that could develop into something terrifying for opposing teams.
Old school says
I Believe that the way of game is playing today is in a diferent way, not is THE ONLY WAY….When a team who they best player has to be a center AND WIN A RING, everybody will be in the conversation about that the ELDER WAY to built a great team WAS ALWAYS AROUND A GREAT CENTER… Stretch four, spacing, fast pace, long range shots, will become in the NEW OLD AGE.
The fashions always back….
The Lakers had so many PF’s last year that they had them playing at C, SF, and PF with no lack of bodies at that position despite injuries. They still have Randle, Black, and Kelly on the books at PF. I still like Hill but, not at 9 million, and frankly the Lakers needs at other positions should take priority.
Old school says
i think ED DAVIS in a better choise over HILL because DAVIS put on the table the same things than Hill bring to the team, THE ONLI DIFERECE is Davis cost less…and he is younger and he embrace both roles as a starter or back up center whetever any decision that the team does on both options:free agent market and smock draft. Thaks Jordan Hill, but this season our paths will be separate.
david h says
darius: further cements lakers’ intent on going big at the #2 pick.
Happy Father’s Day, we too are appreciated on our once a year special day, I need a new tie.
Thx again to you, Erez and Renato for keeping this blog going and enjoy your special day. for sure, next week we will get our our wishes answered.
Letting J Hill go is the right thing to do. Obviously, he’s taking up $9 million in cap space that they could use on other, perhaps younger, and more impactful players.
But I think there’s more to it than that. I think it’s just time for the Lakers to move on and establish a new core. As a result, players like Jordan Hill and Wes Johnson will no longer be with the Lakers. Furthermore, if they can find a taker for Swaggy P’s contract, I’m sure they will part ways with Nick Young in a heart beat.
So, I see this as having symbolic value as well as being a financial and basketball move. It’s time for a change. It’s that simple. Next year’s team, as a result, will look very different.
One other note: the Lakers could reach out to Ed Davis (depending upon his market value). But they could also make an offer to a FA such as Kosta Koufos who for the last 2 years has been backing up Marc Gasol in Memphis. If this happens, then the Lakers front line will be entirely different next year. Koufos could provide solid positional defense that they would need at the 5 position, even if he were to play, say, only 16-18 minutes.
Time will tell. It should be a very interesting summer.
We don’t need a big man, we’ve got Sacre. Lock him up for a few more years, and then draft Mudiay or Russell.
Hill is good in rebounds, slow on D and not worth 9M, maybe 2.5M when Lakers has exhausted their F/A hunt. I think Davis should be resigned with a little increase. He has to improve his handicap on F/T
lil pau says
i guess I’m in the minority here, but I’ll be sad to see Hill go. The Lakers never have really had that kind of Malik Rose kind of player at the 4– someone who plays with intensity and a kind of killer instinct for rebounding the ball. I would love for Hill to be our backup 4 playing decent minutes, but I agree that such a player can’t get 9M under the CBA….
the sad thing (for me) is that I think Hill has real value to a contender, far more than he means to a rebuilding team like ours. I could really see him as the 7th best player on a championship squad. How much could Cleveland had benefitted from a player like that?
That said, I’m not sure why this is even being discussed prior to the draft unless the Lakers are indeed locked in on JO/KAT… but given Mitch’s stealth nature, why would he hint at his intentions by talking about releasing Hill? Could a double-cross be in the works? Or is he trying to boost S&T value? Thursday can’t come soon enough.
At best, assuming they don’t land multiple high-quality free agents (not likely) next year the Lakers may show “surprising improvement.” They will not really contend for anything until Randle, Clarkson and this year’s number 2 overall have been developed into NBA players. Although it is possible for that to happen in just one year, we should be honest with ourselves and admit it is not likely. Therefore, the Lakers should be willing to accept somebody else’s salary dump (for Hill or otherwise) if they also get picks in exchange (as they did last year with Lin).
Fell in love with Cedi Osman after watching his draft express.
Mark Medina ? @MarkG_Medina
I’m told Ed Davis’ reps will try to get 2-3 year deal worth $8-9 million per year or 1-year deal worth $9-10 million
As many of us said at the time, Hill’s contract was not a huge mistake, since the second year was a team option. But as the KBros and others have pointed out, the way the deal is structured limits Hill’s value as a trade chip, so the deal was, barring a last-second reversal, mostly pointless. Hill was not used as salary ballast to get a star, he was not used to acquire a draft pick, he didn’t help the team fight for a playoff spot, and for tanking fans, they might have won a game or two fewer with a worse guy on the minimum getting his minutes. I suppose you can argue that those things might have happened–but none of them has, and the clock is almost at 0:00.
None of that is Hill’s fault–he hustles and does some things well, and is a NBA bench guy. But he demonstrates the way that last year was, as I said, during the season, a semi-tank.
I’m a fan of Hill, and I hope the Lakers keep him–for our sake. However, looking at things from his perspective, he’s better off if he can get away.
I’m with you on Osman. Looks like a find.
Glad to see Hill go. Not the worst player, but not a championship piece. Ed Davis much better work ethic
Ed not worth 7 mil per either …. will probably.fire his agent again when the market dries up. ..ed is gonna be stuck in the matt barnes zone where gms keep undervaluing him so they can get him on the cheap
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– I’ll give the Front Office credit for getting this one right.
– Let’s keep the good decision making going…”next”.
I think The big question this year will be …will the lakers strike out again? And if we do what does that mean?
A lot of teams have cap space this year … if most bigs resign – deandre to clips,chandler to mavs, aldridge to portland …. that will leave like 6 teams chasing guys like monroe, lopez and even hill
I think if we wait around again on pie in the sky options like getting lebron and melo like we did last year we will strike out again if we allow ourselves to think aldridge or even love is coming here …. shaq came for the money first
Really hoping for a 12:01pm notification that we have signed monroe
If we strike out … we will hand philly a lotopick
Craig W. says
A lottery pick at #13-14 isn’t much different that a regular pick at #18, except for the possibility it gets selected for one of the top 3 picks.
Anthony Davis’s next contract -Report: Pelicans to push Davis to sign 5-year, $143M extension
(via http://thesco.re/theScore_app )
It has been “reported” that Kobe is helping to recruit DJ. Don’t know if there’s any truth in it, but it’s out there. The team and DJ will be meeting on Wednesday. LA is meeting with the team tomorrow. We will know soon what the plan is in the FO.
Man… That’s the one guy I thought the lakers might mess up and trick themselves into signing. He is so athletic and they think he will age well and learn better skills and master his coordination. That’s why I thought they might trick themselves into DJ. He is 27. By the time the lakers can be good we are talking about 29. Let’s say they sign a healthy Durant. Randle/Russell/Clarkson won’t be old enough to win next year. So you’re waiting two years for Weatrbook/Davis FA class. Hhmmmm. But if you trade for cousins that pushed up the window. Do you zig while everyone zags and get a 27 year old Jordan. Trade for Cousins. Now you have cousins at PF and force the league to go big (something they aren’t built to do). NM… No way the Lakers really want to go for Jordan. He isn’t worth the max and he is too old. I’m just beine so negative about the FO. They know what they are doing.
“I think The big question this year will be …will the lakers strike out again? And if we do what does that mean?”
Why would they not want to strike out? As Aaron correctly notes, the young ‘uns need some development time. So I can only hope that all this talk is just to renew and otherwise sell more season tickets.
Aaron, I think Westbrook is out, or at least I would hope that they didn’t draft Russell to play SG (if that is the case, they should have went for Okafor instead and traded up for Vaughn if at all possible). By the way, the entire fate of the rebuild hangs on the guy who wasn’t even drafted aka Upshaw. He can go for 10 and 10 and best defensive C in the game and the entire landscape changes. Then you can have part of your wish, hopefully, meaning Upshaw at C, Davis at PF, Randle at SF, add a SG, Russell at PG, Clarkson backup combo guard, Nance backs up Davis and Brown backs up Randle. So look for the best SG in the ’17 FA class to go with Davis. If Upshaw busts and/or too much risk in signing Davis, or not, then with Kobe off the books, perhaps Durant and Horford. Now back to Upshaw, courtesy of some soul on Bleacher Report:
FG% REB BLK PTS (over 40 minutes)
Karl-Anthony Towns, No. 1 .566 12.7 4.3 19.5
Jahlil Okafor, No. 3 . 664 11.3 1.9 23.0
Willie Cauley-Stein, No. 6 .572 9.9 2.6 13.8
Frank Kaminsky, No. 9 .547 9.8 1.7 22.3
Robert Upshaw, undrafted .593 13.1 7.2 17.6
And we should get an idea early, as his first matchup is against the TWolves and Towns and then next matchup is 76ers and Okafor. For those wanting the dates, July 10 and 11. Be there or be a hexagon, as it were.