The Lakers to re-sign Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell, land Jaxson Hayes

iamhz, Sunday, July 2, 2023

The Lakers

The Lakers have reached an agreement with the restricted free agent Austin Reeves, which will grant him a four-year, $56 million contract, the maximum allowed by the Lakers.

Reeves, a former undrafted agent, made his mark in the initial lineup, solidifying his position in the team’s core between the shooting guard and small forward with an impressive shooting percentage of 44% from the three-point range and an average of 16.9 points per game. Throughout the regular season, he proved to be one of the team’s most skilled players, shooting 52.9% from the field.

Reeves’ contract includes an option for a player in the final season.

He joins the Lakers as a member of the team’s “Young Core,” alongside forward Rui Hachimura and point guard D’Angelo Russell, a move that General Manager Rob Pelinka stated would prioritize the team’s free agency. The Lakers secured a deal with these three players in less than 24 hours of free agency.

On Saturday, Russell agreed to a two-year, $36 million deal with the team, with a player option in the second year.

These agreements come at a time when the Lakers are nearing the end of an intense free agency period. Additionally, the team has agreed to a two-year deal with former New Orleans center Jaxson Hayes. On Friday, the Lakers also reached deals with guard Gabe Vincent, forward Torian Prince, and forward Cam Reddish.

The Lakers acquired Russell in a trade just before the NBA trade deadline, which also included Westbrook, a move that helped reshape the team’s season before reaching the Western Conference Finals.

Following the trade, Russell averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game, shooting 41.4% from the field. He played a crucial role in the Lakers’ victories in the post-season against Memphis and Golden State before struggling against the Nuggets and eventually being benched in Game 4.

Now, he will return to the backcourt alongside Vincent.

The Lakers

Hayes, who desired to play behind Lakers’ Anthony Davis, is seen as a physical player at 6 feet 11 inches and is believed to fill a role similar to Dwight Howard’s during the Lakers’ 17th NBA Championship win in 2020.

In July 2021, Hayes received a penalty of 450 hours of community service, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, and a three-year probation after not contesting two felony charges resulting from an incident with his girlfriend in Woodland Hills.

Hayes was a first-round draft pick before the Texas round, ultimately selected eighth overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Shortly after the draft, he was acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in a multi-player trade.

Hayes spent his first four seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in just 13.0 minutes per game last season, playing only 47 games due to injury, two of which he started.

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