No. 2 draft pick could mean end of Jordan Hill's run with Lakers

Jordan Hill could be the odd man out if Lakers draft Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns with No. 2 pick

With the Lakers winning the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Jordan Hill's time with the team could be nearing an end.

The team has an option on Hill's contract next year with the decision due before July. The Lakers can either pay him $9 million for the 2015-16 season, or render him an unrestricted free agent.

The top two prospects in the draft, Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns, both play the same position as Hill.

Okafor is more of a true center, while Towns (like Hill) can also play power forward. The Lakers could also look at a guard like Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, perhaps making Hill more of a viable fit on the roster.

The Lakers also have power forward Julius Randle back from a leg injury, along with Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly. The team can also choose to keep center Robert Sacre at just under $1 million for next season.

Ed Davis will opt out the second year on his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Lakers clearly have options at the power positions, but paying $9 million for Hill doesn't seem like the likely choice, especially if the team wants to be a player in free agency.

Hill's salary is problematic. The team would have up to $22.2 million in spending power without him but just $13.8 million if they keep Hill at his option price.

The franchise has four players under contract (Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Randle and Kelly). Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown, Black and Sacre are non-guaranteed at minimum salaries. Cutting any may not be worth the little bit of additional cap space it opens up (less than $500,000 each).

The No. 2 pick (unsigned) will take up $4.3 million of the Lakers' cap room this summer. Once the player inks his contract, he'll receive an industry standard bump in pay to $5.1 million.

The Lakers also have the Houston Rockets' 27th pick (via the Jeremy Lin trade), taking up almost $1 million in cap space.

To maximize their cap space, the Lakers would need to let Hill go, while renouncing the rights to free agents like Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson, etc.).

Some of the top free agents potentially include LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Goran Dragic (Miami Heat), Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons) and Rajon Rondo (Dallas Mavericks), among others.

Many of the best players who may be available are power forwards or centers.

Restricted free agents include Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks) and Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic). The Lakers may find it difficult or even impossible to lure away a restricted player, given the leverage their existing teams have to match any offer.

The Lakers could look to trade Hill, but only if he is opted into his salary for next season. If they do decline his option, the Lakers have the ability to re-sign him -- should both parties have interest in a return.

Through 70 appearances last season (57 starts), Hill averaged 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds a game while shooting 45.9% from the field.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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