The Lakers will decline to pick up a $9 million team option on Jordan Hill for the 2015-16 season, according to league sources familiar with the situation.
The Lakers technically have until midnight on Tuesday to make this decision. But they informed Hill’s representatives on Monday that they most likely will not pick up his option. The Lakers have leaned that way ever since the 2014-15 season ended for numerous reasons.
First, the Lakers currently have five power forwards on their roster, including Julius Randle, Larry Nance. Jr, Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly. That does not account for Ed Davis, who has declined his $1.1 million player option for a longer deal.
Secondly, the Lakers will prioritize targeting front-court players in free agency, including Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, the Clippers DeAndre Jordan, Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Detroit’s Greg Monroe. Hill’s departure gives the Lakers about $23 million in spending power to fill out their roster.
Should the Lakers strike out any of those big-name free agents, the Lakers could still re-sign Hill as a free agent at a much lower price tag. But it remains to be seen whether that will happen.
Despite Hill posting career-highs in points (12), rebounds (7.9), stars (57) and minutes (26.8), the Lakers became frustrated with his inconsistency. The Lakers and Hill both attributed those struggles toward adapting to heavy playing time and struggles with his diet.
The Lakers acquired Hill from the Houston Rockets in 2012 as part of a mid-season trade involving Derek Fisher.