The Los Angeles Lakers despite declining Jordan Hill’s $9 million team option for next season expressed interest Tuesday night in re-signing the free agent big man, according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News.
The decision to waive Hill’s team option for next year was on the sole basis to free up additional cap space to help the Lakers in their pursuit of top free agents such as LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, and Kevin Love. It is expected that Los Angeles could retain Hill at a discounted price, but at that same notion the 27-year-old has also fielded several calls from other teams.
The Lakers’ primary focus at this point in free agency is targeting the top free agent big men. They held a meeting with Aldridge at the onset of the free agency period on Tuesday night, and have additional meetings lined with Jordan and Greg Monroe for Wednesday. The team will also reportedly meet with Love some time later this week.
If Los Angeles were to ink any of these players to a max-contract of a four-year, $80 million it would lock up $18.8 million of their estimated $23 million cap space for this offseason. This makes hard to believe that Hill will return to the team, especially with the Lakers also expressing interest in retaining free agent forward Ed Davis.
Hill spent the last 3 1/2 seasons with Los Angeles after being acquired from the Houston Rockets. He is coming of his best statistical season averaging career-highs in points (12.9), rebounds (7.9), minutes (26.8), and starts (57). Although it was a step up production for the six-year veteran, he struggled at times playing with consistency because of his difficulties adjusting to playing heavier minutes than in years past.