LA Lakers Trade Rumors: Star Player To Have Option Declined By Lakers?

LA Lakers trade rumors revealed some interesting news. The Lakers tried to trade forward Jordan Hill, hoping to use his contract as a bargaining chip in negotiations with other teams. It didn’t go well, and Hill didn’t get traded as the front office had hoped. A report from NBC Sports on Friday (June 19) now states that the Lakers plan to decline his team option, making Hill a free agent that could then sign with any NBA team.

During the 2014-15 NBA season, Jordan Hill played in 70 games for the LA Lakers, getting the nod as the starter in 57 of them. He played power forward and center for the Lakers, putting in 26.8 minutes a night and averaging 12 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Hill saw a lot of playing time due to the depleted roster that the Lakers were dealing with and he made the most of his time on the court. Even if he doesn’t return to the Lakers, the 28-year-old should have suitors in free agency.

It’s not surprising that these LA Lakers trade rumors would surface, especially since the team is trying to shed a lot of salary during the NBA offseason. The plan is to bring in talent to play with Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle, and whomever the team selected with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Declining a team option that would have paid Jordan Hill $9 million just makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint, allowing the team even more cap space to play around with.

It’s still possible that the Lakers could re-sign Hill to a new contract. He may have frustrations about the team not picking up his option, but he could still stand to make around $5 million during the next NBA season. Hill might get offered a similar deal to play for another franchise, so he will have to weigh whether he thinks Kobe Bryant can lead the Lakers into the playoffs, or whether a new team is the answer for him. As previously reported on the Inquisitr, the Lakers may also offer contracts to Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, so more talent might be coming to the 15-man roster as well.

With the 2015 NBA Draft quickly approaching, it seems less likely that any of the current LA Lakers trade rumors will lead to anything. What seems more plausible, is that the team will take an elite prospect in the draft and then see what pieces can be added in free agency to possibly make the team a contender again.

[Image Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images]