On Friday, July 20, the Los Angeles Lakers and power forward Jordan Hill agreed to a two-year contract worth $8 million. Hill re-signed with the Lakers despite getting interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves during his free agency.
I'm happy with Hill's decision to remain with the Lakers. He flashed enough of his potential late in the 2011-2012 season to show that he can be an asset to this team both now and in the future. He brought some speed and quickness to the power forward position, which proved useful with the Lakers following his midseason trade from the Houston Rockets.
One thing that excites me about Hill returning to the team is that he'll get the opportunity to work with Steve Nash. I think Nash can use Hill's athleticism to give the team a boost. With Nash running the point, Hill should be able to find some opportunities in the transition game that he didn't have when he played in Houston. This opportunity might be his chance to finally reach his potential.
What this means for the Lakers' bench
When you consider how well Hill played at times during his brief run with the Lakers, you have to think that the team's bench is looking a lot better than it did to start last season. Steve Blake is a solid backup point guard, and new signee Antawn Jamison is still more than capable of putting up some solid numbers. Even Josh McRoberts had a few decent performances in 2011-2012.
If the Lakers can develop guards Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock this summer, the bench might actually be a strength in 2012-2013. I'm not saying that it will be one of the league's best, but I think the bench has the potential to actually help the team next season instead of holding it back.
However, there is one problem. Hill still faces charges in Houston for allegedly choking his girlfriend last February. If convicted, Hill could be sentenced to 10 years in prison, which would end his NBA career.
I don't think the Lakers would have re-signed Hill if they believed that he would be found guilty of the charges. I also think the team has big plans for Hill if they are willing to take the risk of losing him at some point during this two-year contract. However, despite the Lakers' confidence that this issue will work itself out, Hill still could end up in jail. That's something that fans should keep an eye on in the coming months.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.
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- Jordan Hill
- the Lakers
- Houston Rockets