Lakers re-sign Reaves/DLO, add center on day two of free agency
The Lakers have had a very active two days of free agency. On day one, LA signed Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, and Cam Reddish while re-signing Rui Hachimura.
Rob Pelinka stayed active on day two, signing center Jaxson Hayes on a two-year minimum deal. Hayes is a highly athletic big man that is a great lob threat. The 23-year-old center can be a lob threat and rim protector for LA.
Hayes hasn’t developed into the rim protector he was expected to be coming out of college. However, Hayes could thrive as the backup center and become a consistent defender in a new system.
The Lakers envision Hayes playing a Dwight Howard-type role from the 2020 title season. This means he will be a backup center expected to rebound, protect the paint, and be a lob threat.
LA then inked D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves to new deals. Russell signed a two-year $37 million deal with a player option for the second season. Reaves signed a four-year $56 million max contract to remain with the Lakers.
Russell was acquired at the trade deadline and became crucial to their turnaround. He averaged 17/3/6 on 48/41/74 shooting splits in 17 regular season games with the Lakers.
Russell averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists on 48/41/74 splits in 17 regular season games with LA— Ben Cooper (@BenCooperNBA) July 1, 2023
Russell had key moments in the playoffs against MEM and GSW but struggled in the WCF against DEN
Lakers wouldn’t have gone as far without him even though he struggled against DEN https://t.co/9L5VH4M4tz
Russell had good moments throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs against the Grizzlies and Warriors. However, he struggled in the Western Conference Finals against the Nuggets.
While it was a tough series for Russell, LA is wise to bring him back. He is a good scorer, playmaker, and shooter, fitting well with the roster. It’s a contract at a good value that should be highly beneficial for the Lakers as they get their starting point guard back.
Reaves deal was the most surprising of the day. His four-year deal is less than many expected him to receive in free agency, as it was expected a rival team would offer more and force the Lakers to match.
Austin Reaves averaged 17/4/5 in the playoffs on 46/44/90 shooting splits— Ben Cooper (@BenCooperNBA) July 1, 2023
Reaves was pivotal on the Lakers turn around this season
He has gone from an undrafted player to a max-contract player
The Lakers get their young guard on the rise back for four years at a great price https://t.co/TCa5rhqZjE
Reaves is a sensational young player on the rise. He had a breakout sophomore season and averaged 17/4/5 in the playoffs on 46/44/90 shooting splits.
Reaves came up with clutch shots, and his two-way play is extremely valuable for LA. It’s a very reasonable contract for the Lakers, and they will watch their young guard continue to grow over the next four years.
Pelinka has done a phenomenal job in free agency. The Lakers have one of the deepest teams in basketball and are built to be a contender again next season. LA will now look to add another center for their 14th roster spot to solidify their roster.