After spending the first three days of free agency without striking any deals, the Lakers zeroed in on a candidate who could satisfy the team’s primary objectives for the offseason.
The Lakers met with veteran guard George Hill in Los Angeles on Monday, according to league sources familiar with the situation. Though the parties did not agree to a deal, the meeting could lead to one in the days ahead.
The 31-year-old Hill could help the Lakers in several ways.
The Lakers think Hill would provide a positive veteran presence in a young locker room, help their outside shooting needs and add depth to their backcourt. Hill could play backup point guard behind rookie Lonzo Ball or start alongside Ball at shooting guard. After playing five seasons in Indiana with Paul George (2011-16), perhaps Hill could aid the Lakers’ ongoing efforts to ensure George joins them as a free agent next summer.
Despite missing 23 games last season with a recurring toe injury, Hill averaged a career-high 16.9 points and 4.2 assists, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from 3-point range for a Utah team that finished as the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. Hill ranked 23rd in the league in Real Plus-Minus last season, a good barometer for a player’s contributions to team success.
The Lakers also met with free agent shooting guard Dion Waiters on Sunday and have had multiple conversations with veteran guard Rajon Rondo in recent days. Though they have yet to schedule a meeting with Rondo, the Lakers view him as a potential fit both to mentor Ball and add further depth to their backcourt. The Lakers have had extensive talks with people who know Rondo well, including former coaches and players, so they can learn better how he was as a teammate.
A year after believing his NBA career could be coming to an end, Nick Young is suddenly a wanted man.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have joined the teams that have expressed interest in the former Lakers guard, according to sources familiar with the situation. The Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans have also expressed interest, sources said.
Kevin Durant agreed Monday to re-sign with Golden State on a two-year, $53 million deal, taking about a $9 million paycut for both years, largely to help them retain free agent sixth man Andre Iguodala. Nonetheless, sources said the Warriors would only sign Young with their $5.2 million trade option. Young is currently waiting to see which teams present offers and what those terms are, sources said.
MAKING IT OFFICIAL
Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart signed their contracts with the Lakers on Monday.
As per the terms of the NBA collective bargaining agreement, Ball is slated to have a four-year deal worth $27.9 million with team options on the third and fourth year. For the 2017-18 season, Ball will make about $5.2 million in salary.
The terms for Kuzma and Hart were not immediately available. Rookie center Thomas Bryant is expected to sign his contract soon.
On Monday, the Lakers also held their first practice for their Las Vegas Summer League team in a closed session at their practice facility in El Segundo. After Tuesday, the Lakers plan to practice the rest of the week before Summer League play begins in Las Vegas on Friday.
The Lakers open their summer slate against the Clippers on Friday at 5:30 p.m. They face Boston on Saturday at 5:30, then Sacramento on Monday at 7:30 p.m.