Jordan Hill cleared to play for the Lakers
It took nearly three days, but the newest Laker could finally put on a purple-and-gold uniform.
Jordan Hill was cleared to play for the Lakers on Sunday when Derek Fisher took a buyout from Houston, a development that occurred about 72 hours after the Rockets swapped Hill for Fisher and a first-round draft pick.
Fisher will become a free agent if he clears waivers, allowing him to sign with any team except the Lakers. A rule in the new collective bargaining agreement prevents players who are bought out after a trade to re-sign with their former teams.
Fisher was due to collect almost $1 million more this season and $3.4 million next season.
“Derek’s desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward,” Jamie Wior, Fisher’s publicist, said in a statement. “We thank the Houston Rockets front office for their interest, time and their absolute professionalism.”
Hill figures to play for the Lakers … at some point.
Lakers Coach Mike Brown acknowledged that it could be tough for the third-year forward out of Arizona to get significant playing time because he is behind reserve big men Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts on the depth chart.
“Those are two veteran guys in front of him,” Brown said, “so it’s not as easy to just say, ‘Hey, you know what, Josh and Troy, you guys played well for us but we’ve got this new young guy coming in so he’s going to play in front of you.’”
Hill sat on the bench wearing his trademark sweatband around his head during the Lakers’ 103-99 loss to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, his primary function as a cheerleader.
He has spent the last few days trying to learn plays while watching film and standing on the sideline in practice. There was a familiar face on the practice court in Lakers forward Devin Ebanks, a former prep school teammate of Hill’s at The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C.
Hill described himself as a “high-energy guy” who would rebound and defend. That is, when he gets on the floor.
“I’m going to do the tough-guy role,” he said.
Brown is planning to cram two more games into his already hectic schedule.
If he wants to remain a popular figure in his household, he doesn’t have a choice.
Brown’s son Elijah, a junior guard at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, will try to win a boys’ basketball state title Saturday night when the Monarchs play Sacramento Shelton at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.
Nirra Fields, a standout senior guard on the Mater Dei girls’ team whom Brown and his wife Carolyn obtained legal guardianship of last year, will play in the preceding state championship game against Berkeley.
Fortunately for Mike Brown, the Lakers do not have a game Saturday, freeing him to make a quick up-and-back trip to Northern California.
“I’m working on it now,” Brown said of his itinerary. “It will be figured out.”
Does that mean the Lakers will get that day off?
“No, no,” Brown said quickly. “It will not affect our schedule at all.”
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