• May 26, 2023

Reeves to Hachimura or keep it all…Lakers aim to retain young players

After an eventful 2022-23 season, the Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up for the offseason.

“Our goal is to retain our young players,” head coach Rob Pelinka said after the team was eliminated from the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

“Austin Reeves has shown incredible growth and performance. We have a lot of great young players like Vanderbilt and Russell, and we want to do our best to put the pieces together.”

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep the Lakers intact and grow and get better every year,” he said of the upcoming offseason.

True to his word, Pelinka will make a big push to add depth to the Lakers’ roster, but he’ll have to play within the confines of the second luxury tax line enacted in this year’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Pelinka will have a busy offseason, especially since LeBron James looked healthy in Game 4 against Denver with 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

■ Reeves and Hachimura set to hit restricted free agency.

Reeves and Rui Hachimura are two of the Lakers’ biggest hot potatoes.

Reeves raised his stock from the end of the regular season to the playoffs, and Hachimura has been an efficient offensive force in the playoffs with the exception of Game 4 against Denver. So while the Lakers will make a big push to get them, they also have a lot of interest from other teams.

The Lakers could offer Reeves a contract worth at least four years and $50.8 million, but they’d have to pay him four years and $1 million when they’re maxed out by an undercap team like the Houston Rockets. Hachimura had previously entered negotiations with the Washington Wizards, who offered him $12-13 million per year, with a final offer of $13-14 million. However, Hachimura’s camp wants a four-year, $60 million deal. With the New York Knicks currently offering Josh Hart an $18M/year deal, Hachimura could be worth $15M/year.

Beasley, who is tied up with a team option, and Bamba and Vanderbilt, who are non-guaranteed contracts.

There are players under contract with the Lakers whose futures are uncertain.

The Lakers have until June 30 to decide whether to exercise Malik Beasley’s $16.5 million team option, so the NBA 2023 Draft, which takes place a week earlier, will provide a glimpse into the full picture of offseason moves. Beasley’s salary is attractive enough that the Lakers could use it as a card to trade for the 17th, 47th, and 48th picks in the 2023 draft.

The salaries of Mo Bamba and Jared Vanderbilt, who have $10.3 million and $4.6 million in non-guaranteed contracts, could be combined with Beasley to form a nice package. However, Vanderbilt had a good run from the regular season to the second round of the playoffs, and Bamba and Beasley are both lottery tickets that haven’t been fully scratched, so it’s possible they’ll stay with the team for one more scratch.

Russell, Walker, and Schroeder in free agency.

For every player whose stock has risen during the playoffs, there are others whose stock has fallen. D’Angelo Russell is one of them. 안전놀이터

Russell joined the Lakers at the trade deadline in February and looked to be on his way to getting the deal he wanted, a four-year, $10 million deal, right up until the playoffs. However, the playoffs exposed some of his worst performances and set his value at a low point. As a result, the Lakers and Russell are likely to work out a one-year deal. The local talk is that the Lakers will offer Russell a two-year (1+1), $40M deal. If Russell accepts, he will be eligible to hit free agency again in a year.

Last season’s mid-level exception (MLE) signee, Lonnie Walker IV, could see his efforts in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors lead to a lucrative contract. Dennis Schroder has also been at his best as a backup point guard, so it’s entirely up to them to decide if they want to stay with the Lakers.

Schroder, in particular, is promised an MLE that more than doubles the veteran minimum ($1.8M), and with early signing rights the following year, Schroder could get a four-year, $58M deal. That’s the same deal the LA Clippers offered to Nicolas Batum and the Milwaukee Bucks offered to Bobby Portis.

On top of that, Schroder is beloved by head coach Darvin Hamm, and he himself is in favor of staying in LA. Furthermore, he has shown his tenacious defense and blazing speed on multiple occasions this playoffs as a guard who has bounced between starting and backup. As such, a two-year, $29 million deal comparable to the league’s best backup point guard, Tyreese Jones of the Memphis Grizzlies, seems like a reasonable price for Schroder.

Meanwhile, Lakers fans are expecting a miracle from Pelinka. All eyes will be on Pelinka to see if he is up to the task.

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