EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Reserve forward Jordan Hill, suddenly a key part of the Lakers rotation, is facing a third-degree felony assault charge in Houston from a Feb. 29 incident when he was a member of the Rockets.
Hill faces 2 to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney’s office told the Houston Chronicle.
Although a court date was reportedly set for Tuesday, hours before Game 2 of the first-round series against the Nuggets in Los Angeles, Hill said after practice Monday at the Lakers training facility that he does not expect to miss any practices or games.
“I guess you all know the accusation I’ve been accused of,” he said in a brief statement to the media. “I just want to apologize to fans, to the Lakers organization, to everyone. I can’t speak on it right now. I’m going to let my attorney, my agent take care of that. Unfortunately it happened at this time, but I’m going to continue to keep my head up to keep working and keep playing.”
Asked if he is concerned about being able to focus on basketball while facing series charges, Hill said: “I’m definitely not concerned. I just want to go out here and get this playoff over with and get to the Finals and try to bring a ring home.”
Hill faces 2 to 10 years in prison if convicted after a woman who said the pair had been dating for about two years accused him of hitting her in the legs, throwing her against a wall and putting her in a chokehold, the Chronicle reported. Charges were filed in March, but became public on Monday.
Hill, the No. 8 pick in 2009 by the Knicks, came to the Lakers as salary-cap ballast in the trade-deadline deal that sent Derek Fisher to Houston. Hill averaged 11.7 minutes in seven appearances with Los Angeles, but one of those was 14 points and 15 rebounds on April 22 against the Thunder. Two games later, in the playoff opener, he had jumped ahead of Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy to become the first big man off the bench, and responded with 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes against the Nuggets.
Coach Mike Brown said the charges do not impact unexpectedly large role. The Lakers said in a statement, “We are aware of the media reports alleging an incident involving Jordan Hill from two months ago when he was a member of the Houston Rockets. We do not have any details regarding these reports and therefore, as well as due to the personal and legal aspects, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”