December 21, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Nick Young (0), power forward Shawne Williams (3, center), and center Jordan Hill (27, right) react on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 102-83. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Lakers reload, uhh, sorta
The Lakers came into the off-season with high hopes they’d be able to improve their roster. The draft came and they walked away with no Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker (Julius Randle is a nice consolation prize). In free agency they walked away with no Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, or any other high-level player they coveted.
With Young, the years are are a bit of an issue. Young had an excellent year with nothing on the line, but his own finances. He performed well, averaging 17.9 points per game, but those numbers came on high usage in a fast-paced offense. Basically, if Young is averaging those numbers your team isn’t really good. Considering the market, $5.735 per isn’t bad. Ben Gordon got $4.5 to fill space in Orlando. The four years is questionable. Luckily the Lakers saved themselves with an option in the final year, or this deal would be viewed.
With Jordan Hill, the years saved a really shoddy deal. Hill is a nice power forward, but him making $9 million per year is a bit egregious. Hill’s niche is rebounding. He’s a so-so defender and the same thought applies to his offense. For comparison, San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter will earn $10 million in 2014-15 and he’s a much better player than Hill at this point. Spencer Hawes signed for the full MLE; another player who is superiors to Hill. Comparing deals in vacuum is far from the best practice, but it delivers a bit of perspective, and what I’m drawing from Hill’s deal is that he’s vastly overpaid.
The Lakers managed to cover their tracks by making the second year in Hill’s deal a team option, retaining some sort of flexibility for the summer of 2015.
I didn’t expect the Lakers to be a good team in 2014-15, but they’ve capped themselves into another year of mediocrity with the deals for Young/Hill as well as the acquisition for Jeremy Lin. According to several reports, these three moves may hinder the franchise from sign-and-trading Pau Gasol, missing out on potential assets.