Nuggets center JaVale McGee tries to dunk over Jordan Hill during the game… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
According to a team spokesman, the Lakers will let their disabled player exception of $1.8 million expire on Monday. The team applied or the exception after learning Jordan Hill would be out for the season in January.
The Lakers could have used the spending tool either to sign a free agent or acquire one via trade (making up to $1.9 million on a one-year deal). Once the Feb. 21 trade deadline lapsed, the latter option expired.
If the Lakers are still looking to sign a player, they have $1.59 million of their mid-level exception remaining. They can also sign a free agent for a minimum salary or a 10-day contract. Given their $100-million payroll (almost $130 million with luxury taxes), it's more likely the team holds with the current group of 14.
The Lakers still have one trade exception remaining ($1.2 million for Christian Eyenga in the Dwight Howard trade) but it is unavailable until after the season. It expires on Aug. 12 and can be used by the Lakers to acquire a player without sending out matching salary.
At 33-31, currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, the team is hoping to get forward-center Pau Gasol back in the coming weeks to help bolster their playoff run.
Hill was injured on Jan. 6 in a game against the Denver Nuggets. He underwent surgery on Jan. 23 and is expected to be out until June.
The 25-year-old big man might be able to make a return if the Lakers are able to make it all the way to the NBA Finals — a lofty goal considering the team just climbed above .500.
Dwight Howard inspired by Kobe Bryant's dedication
Lakers move into playoff position with third consecutive victory
Dwight Howard enjoys Orlando Magic's 'Forget You' parody