Lakers ready to match offers for Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura
Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura enter restricted free agency this offseason. The Lakers are prepared to match contract offers to bring back Reaves and Hachimura long-term.
Since they are restricted free agents, LA can match offers that other teams give to Reaves and Hachimura.
Reaves and Hachimura were sensational in the 2nd half of the season and during their playoff run. Re-signing them and keeping them as a part of their core is crucial. They are young players that have continued to improve throughout the season.
Signing them long-term around would give the Lakers a bright future heading into next season. They fit well and are continuing to grow as players.
Reaves took a jump in his second season. He signed with LA as an undrafted rookie and had a solid rookie campaign. He improved this season, averaging 13/3/3 while shooting 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from three.
Austin Reaves on his future with the Lakers:— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) May 23, 2023
“I want to be here. It feels like home.” pic.twitter.com/ZE6dmJk3by
In the playoffs, he averaged 17/4/5, shooting 46.4% from the floor and 44.3% from behind the arc. He was pivotal to the Lakers making it to the Conference Finals. Bringing Reaves back should be the top priority this offseason.
In his exit interview, Reaves said, “It feels like a home for me. The way the fans support me, the players, coaching staff, front office. This is definitely somewhere I want to be.”
After Reaves, LA should re-sign Hachimura. Hachimura was solid in the regular season after being traded to the Lakers. In 33 games in the regular season with the team, he averaged 10/5/1, shooting 48.5% from the field and 29.6% from downtown.
Rui Hachimura said, since being traded to the Lakers, it’s been “One of the best times of my life.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 23, 2023
He said had a great experience, and learned a lot from LeBron, AD and the coaching staff, including Phil Handy (his on-court assistant).
He found his role with the team in the playoffs and took his game to the next level. Hachimura averaged 12/3/1 in the playoffs, becoming their scoring punch off the bench.
Hachimura’s defense was even more impactful in the playoffs. He was able to defend opposing forwards as well as be a big body to defend Jaren Jackson Jr and Nikola Jokic. His two-way play is extremely valuable.
Reaves and Hachimura progressed as the season long and have a ton of potential moving forward. Rob Pelinka and the front office want to bring them back, and they should be Lakers for the foreseeable future.