Sessions, Hill make case


The Lakers’ off-season, whenever it starts, becomes a little more intriguing whenever Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill have strong games.

They will probably be unrestricted free agents July 1.

Their contributions are usually notable, though they each struggled Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the first round.

Sessions, 26, becomes a free agent with a few strokes of a pen. He is expected to opt out of the final year of a contract that pays him $4.6 million next season. He averaged 13.8 points and 4.3 assists through the first four games of the playoff series against Denver. He had nine points and six rebounds in Game 5.


Hill, 24, automatically became a free agent after Houston declined to pick up his $3.6-million option for next season. He averaged seven points and 9.3 rebounds through four playoff games but had no points and five rebounds in Game 5.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment specifically on Sessions and Hill, speaking only generally about the seven free agents the Lakers could have after this season.

Matt Barnes is an unrestricted free agent making $1.9 million this season. Devin Ebanks is on the books for $789,000 this season and is a restricted free agent, meaning the Lakers can match any offer sheet he signs. Troy Murphy is an unrestricted free agent making the veterans’ minimum $1.4 million.

As for the rookies, Darius Morris signed only a one-year deal when he was drafted, and the Lakers own a player option for Andrew Goudelock for about $789,000 next season.

“We want all our players, whether they’re to be free agents or not to be free agents, to play well because it’s good for them. And normally it’s good for us because it results in more production and hopefully more wins,” Kupchak said. “The bottom line with the Lakers is everybody gets judged on how far we go in the playoffs, and that’s going to be the important factor for everybody on this team going forward, whether you’re a player who’s under contract or a soon-to-be free agent.”

Kupchak’s summer work got harder with the acquisition of Hill and Sessions, to be sure.

“It’s been a rare year when we have a slow off-season,” he said. “There just always seems to be something. We expect this off-season to fall in line with the others.”


Masked Marvel

The plastic protective mask Kobe Bryant wore for 11 games sold on Tuesday for $67,100.

The mask generated 129 bids on EBay and benefited the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

Bryant wore the mask after sustaining a broken nose when Dwyane Wade fouled him in the All-Star game. Bryant scored his 29,000th career point while wearing the mask March 9 against Minnesota. The winning bidder of the mask also had to pay $15 in shipping.