Lakers Lock in Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and Jaxson Hayes in Impressive Free Agency Moves

The Los Angeles Lakers have made a significant move in free agency by reaching an agreement with restricted free agent Austin Reaves. The Lakers have locked in Reaves on a four-year contract worth $56 million, the maximum allowed under league regulations.

Reaves is a former undrafted free agent, showcasing his talent and determination by earning a spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup during the postseason. Reaves, averaging 16.9 points per game while shooting an impressive 44% from beyond the arc, solidified his position as a key member of the team’s core. Throughout the regular season, Reaves demonstrated exceptional efficiency, boasting a field goal percentage of 52.9%.

The terms of Reaves’ contract include a player option for the final season, offering him flexibility for the future. His addition to the Lakers roster reinforces their commitment to a young promising core alongside forward Rui Hachimura and point guard D’Angelo Russell. General Manager Rob Pelinka has emphasized the team’s focus on prioritizing these talented players in free agency, and within the first 24 hours, the Lakers successfully secured agreements with all three.

Russell, a valuable asset acquired by the Lakers in a trade deadline deal involving Russell Westbrook, has committed to a two-year, $36 million contract extension. The second year of the deal includes a player option, granting Russell further control over his future.

These signings mark the culmination of a busy start to free agency for the Lakers, who also secured a two-year deal with former New Orleans center Jaxson Hayes. In addition, the team reached agreements with guard Gabe Vincent, forward Taurean Prince, and forward Cam Reddish on Friday, further bolstering their roster depth.

Russell’s return to the Lakers comes after an impressive performance following the trade, contributing 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 41.4% from three-point range. Although he faced challenges during the playoffs, particularly against the Denver Nuggets, Russell’s notable contributions played a vital role in the Lakers’ victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors. In Game 4, Russell was moved to the bench as the Lakers made strategic adjustments.

Vincent’s arrival strengthens the Lakers’ backcourt, offering additional support alongside Russell. Meanwhile, Hayes fills the backup center role, providing valuable minutes behind Anthony Davis. Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, the Lakers view Hayes as a physical player capable of replicating the impact Dwight Howard had during the team’s championship-winning season in 2020.

Hayes, 23, spent the first four seasons of his career with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per game last season. However, injuries limited his playing time to just 47 games. It is worth noting that Hayes was sentenced to 450 hours of community service, 52 weeks of domestic-violence classes, and three years of probation after pleading no contest to two misdemeanor charges that resulted from an incident with his girlfriend in Woodland Hills in July 2021. Despite the legal situation, the Lakers remain confident in Hayes’ ability to contribute on the court.

With a strong core of young talent complementing established stars, the Lakers aim to make a championship run in the upcoming season.

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