The Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics were among the teams that expressed interest Monday night about Jordan Hill, according to a league source familiar with the discussions.
The Lakers centered their first phone calls on reaching out to people representing LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol, according to league sources. But Hill also marked one of the team’s early calls once free agency began on Monday night at 9:01 p.m. Pacific time, according to a league source.
Hill’s chances of staying with the Lakers increased substantially once coach Mike D’Antoni resigned. Though Hill averaged a career-high 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2013-14 season, Hill grew frustrated with Mike D’Antoni’s system that featured him having a fluctuating role partly because of his preference for a so-called “small ball” system. The Lakers liked Hill’s energy on rebounding and on defense, but they also also believed he was not an ideal fit for D’Antoni’s system.
Even with both Hill and the Lakers expressing interest, a few variables remain in play that could prevent a reuniting. Hill would like to receive a deal lasting three or four years, while the Lakers are hoping to sign role players to one-year deals. Their insistence on keeping to that stance will largely hinge on whether they can sign James and/or Anthony. Even if neither player joins the Lakers, they would still like to minimize multi-year deals so they can maximize cap flexibility for the 2015 and 2016 offseasons.