The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling this season, but one of the few bright spots has been the play of Jordan Hill. While Hill has been perhaps the second-best Laker behind Kobe Bryant, the two-year, $18 million contract he received during the off-season was questioned.
Through 22 games, Hill is averaging 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while adding a jump shot to his game. Although the Lakers have received calls for Hill, they currently have no plans to move him and are even considered likely to exercise his team option according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
A contract that once looked overwrought now appears eminently fair, to the point where the Lakers are considered likely to exercise the $9 million option they hold on Hill’s deal next season. On a roster widely viewed as devoid of trade assets, sources told Sporting News that Hill is the one guy about whom the Lakers get realistic trade calls—but that LA has no plans to move him.
During his time in Los Angeles, Hill has played well, but was never a consistent part of the rotation under former head coach Mike D’Antoni. It was expected that Hill would look elsewhere this past off-season, but Pau Gasol’s departure and head coach Byron Scott’s trust has provided him with the perfect opportunity.
If the Lakers ultimately decide to exercise the team option on Hill’s contract for next season, the franchise will have approximately $20 million in cap space to pursue free agents. In addition, the Lakers will have to land a top-five pick in this year’s draft or else the lottery pick will go to the Phoenix Suns as a result of the Steve Nash trade.[divide]
Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott On Kobe’s Health, Jordan Hill’s Jumper