Updates from Wednesday, July 23
The Lakers officially announced the signing of Jordan Hill this afternoon:
GM Mitch Kupchak released a statement via the team's website on the deal:
“Jordan has been a consistent contributor for us over the last three seasons and we are pleased to keep him in the Laker family,” said Kupchak. “Jordan’s frontcourt versatility is a benefit to our roster and his on-court work ethic is something we value on our team. We hope he’ll continue to work hard and develop as an NBA player”
Jordan Hill enjoyed his best stretch of play in the NBA to date with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. It appears general manager Mitch Kupchak and Co. were sold enough on Hill's potential to re-sign him as a building block for L.A.'s future.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports the deal:
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times provides contract details:
Hill is still just entering his age-27 season, but has not lived up to his high draft billing in his brief career. The New York Knicks originally selected him No. 8 overall in 2009, then traded him in his rookie year to the Houston Rockets, and he had been with the Lakers since the 2011-12 season.
The 2013-14 campaign offers evidence to suggest Hill is turning a corner. Amid persistent trade rumors since February as L.A. seeks to clear out cap space for the future, Hill played rather well, with averages of 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in just 20.8 minutes per contest.
That's the most playing time he's ever received as a pro. Mike Trudell of Lakers.com documented a bold statement from Hill at the end of the year:
But Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles felt Hill was destined to leave L.A.:
Injuries have contributed to Hill being unable to establish a consistent role, as he's averaged just 16.4 minutes per game in his career. Such a statistic means Hill has plenty of room to grow, too.
The San Antonio Express-News' Jabari Young reported that the San Antonio Spurs were among Hill's desired destinations, while Fox Sports' Sam Amico asserted that the Atlanta Hawks coveted Hill:
Los Angeles didn't let Hill get away, though, proving that the organization is committed to giving him a bigger role. Kobe Bryant will be back to help Hill along, and Kupchak figures to chase some marquee free agents in the next couple of years to bolster the roster.
There is no doubting Hill's talent and rebounding ability. He has tools to be a productive offensive player capable of scoring in double figures on a nightly basis with more court time. It's just difficult to envision what his precise role with the Lakers will be due to his overall underwhelming stint in the NBA to date.
Perhaps the situation hasn't been right for Hill to reach his strong potential. None of the squads he's been a part of have been surefire winners. The fact that he thrived in L.A. last season is impressive in that context.
With the right supporting cast around him, Hill has the ability to be a solid complementary piece and even develop into more than a mere role player.