The Brooklyn Nets seem like they’ll be able to keep up their impressive pace and make the playoffs, but they are looking to improve their roster and would like to use their disabled player exception to get Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hill hasn’t been playing much lately despite the injury to Pau Gasol, even though the Lakers are usually better with him on the floor. He’s averaging 8.5 points and 7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes a night, and can be very useful as a backup big man for the Nets, who usually struggle to keep their defense intact when they have to rest Kevin Garnett, who is their center in the smaller lineup they’re playing in.
For whatever reason, Hill has slipped behind Chris Kaman in the rotation, but the Nets don’t need him to score or lead: They need his energy, rebounding and defense. The question is – can they get him?
The Lakers wouldn’t mind trading Hill, who has an expiring contract worth $3.5 million, for something like a second round pick. Believe it or not, the Nets still have some draft picks to give away after all their wheelin’ and dealin’ over the last three seasons. But can the Nets get Hill on the team?
With the Brook Lopez season ending injury, the Nets do have a cap exception that makes Hill fit despite their $101 million payroll. There are other two problems: There are 15 players on the roster, which means that adding Hill would result in someone being cut, and the Nets having to pay that player as well.
The other issue is luxury tax. Hill’s $3.5 million becomes $17 million after taxes, and although the Nets’ ownership has shown they don’t really mind overspending, practically paying $17 million to Jordan Hill for 30 games and a bit of playoff time doesn’t sound too reasonable of deal.
The trade deadline seems dead this season because of the luxury tax and cap restrictions. The Lakers want to move pretty much everybody not named Kobe Bryant, but their demands for draft picks and the limitations of adding someone like Hill to the roster for a team like the Nets make this an interest they might not be able to follow up on.