The Los Angeles Lakers have decided not to pick up Jordan Hill's $9 million team option, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Hill will now become a free agent and be able to sign with any of the league's 30 teams.
For the Lakers, declining Hill's option isn't a sign of their displeasure with him, but rather a strategic move to free up cap space. Had they not declined it the team would not have had enough cap space to chase max-level free agents this year. With this move the team is projected to have roughly $23 million in cap space available.
With free agency beginning at 12 am ET on July 1st, the Lakers will likely be looking for a starting Center to help round out a lineup that includes a number of young players, including Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle. Superstar guard Kobe Bryant will also likely be playing out the final season of his illustrious career, and Mitch Kupchak will also look to add a veteran or two to help Bryant set the example for the new generation.
The Lakers are said to be interested in just about every big on the market, including DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Greg Monroe, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Should all else fail, they will also look at bringing back Ed Davis and possibly even Hill on a smaller deal.
Free agency should be an exciting period with lots of rumors, but when the dust settles hopefully Kupchak will have built a team that can compete and grow together.