JUNE 30TH, 1:24pm: The team indeed passed on his option, so Hill will become an unrestricted free agent, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
4:32pm: The Lakers have told Hill it most likely won’t pick up his option, though the formal decision can wait until midnight, tweets Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
JUNE 29TH, 2:08pm: The team has told Hill it won’t be picking up his option, league sources said to Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).
JUNE 19TH, 12:11pm: The Lakers are likely to turn down their team option to retain Jordan Hill at a salary of $9MM next season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski cautions that the team has yet to make a final decision, but league sources let him know that momentum is strong toward the Lakers letting Hill enter free agency. The deadline for a formal choice is June 29th.
Declining the option wouldn’t give the Lakers the immediate ability to clear extra cap room, and in fact would infringe on them doing so, since his cap hold would shoot up to $13.5MM. However, the Lakers could renounce their Bird rights to him to wipe that cap hold from the books, even though the Lakers could have interest in re-signing him if they miss out on their star targets, Wojnarowski writes. They’d have to use cap space or an exception to bring him back in that scenario.
Marquee free agents the Lakers would like to sign include LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Goran Dragic, Wojnarowski notes. The Lakers have about $35MM in guaranteed salary already on the books, so they wouldn’t have much trouble squeezing one of them under the projected $67.1MM cap if they picked up Hill’s option. However, letting him go would let the Lakers chase a star as well as a secondary target like DeMarre Carroll, in whom they also reportedly have interest. The notion that the Lakers are inclined to let go of Hill gives deference to the idea that the team has zeroed in on Jahlil Okafor as its primary target for the No. 2 pick, assuming the Timberwolves draft Karl-Anthony Towns first overall, though that’s just my speculation.
Hill, a BDA Sports Management client, is coming off a career year. The five-year veteran poured in 12.0 points per game this past season, the first in which he’s put up a double-digit scoring average. His 7.9 rebounds and 26.8 minutes per game, as well as his 57 starts, are also career highs.