The Lakers season will mercifully come to an end in 2 weeks where they will likely finish with the worst record in Los Angeles Lakers history. Seven long months of disappointment, injuries, frustration and most of all, losing, will finally be over.
While more than half of the NBA teams will be preparing for the post-season, most of the Lakers roster will be preparing their resumes. The Lakers will have 13 players that are either free agents or do not have guaranteed contracts for next season. Only Kobe Bryant is guaranteed to be back next season but him actually suiting up is not a complete certainty as he tries to work his way back from both the Achilles and knee injury.
Two players in particular have already started to provide a little insight as to their future plans and it doesn’t seem like the Lakers will be a part of it.
Jordan Hill has excelled on the court this season when given a shot, but therein lies the frustration with this season, he rarely got one.
“It gets old,” Hill told the L.A. Daily News. “It’s what you can expect, though. It’s not a surprise. I can’t do nothing, but stay humble and continue to keep my head high and support my team.”
Hill will be an unrestricted free agent and coming off a contract that paid him 3.5 million this season. He will likely command a slight raise in the open market and out of the Lakers price range. Money aside, Hill has no interest in returning to the Lakers if it would be in the same role.
“Of course not,” Hill stated when asked if he would return in a similar role. “Who would?”
Nick Young’s season has gone much different than Hill. Young solidified a role as the team’s scoring punch off the bench and leading the league in scoring for a reserve at 17.3 points per game. After a disappointing season with the 76ers last season which led to being overlooked in free agency and having to accept a minimum deal with the Lakers, Young will look to cash in.
NBA.com interviewed Young and was asked if he considered himself a 1.2 million dollar player.
“Not at all. Most definitely. I deserve much more than that.” Young replied.
Young has a 1.2 million dollar player option for next season but going by his response to NBA.com, he’s not planning on picking up that option and will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Young’s bounce back year will surely make him an attractive player in free agency and make a return to the Lakers unlikely.
Young and Hill proved this season that they can be valuable role players and part of a strong foundation for the future. The Lakers however are in a position where they are in a search for the next superstar to carry the franchise going forward and simply don’t have the cap space to spare on role players with premium price tags, which means that Young and Hill will likely be moving on.
– Fern Rea
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