Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers dove into free agency with an urgency to improve the current roster, and they scored big. First and foremost, the Lakers made sure to extend their core players in Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura. They also signed key veterans such as Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, and Cam Reddish. With the newly acquired talent, the Lakers can make a deep run in the playoffs and contend for the championship.
Los Angeles Lakers Summer Moves
Last season at the trade deadline, Rob Pelinka called it pre-agency. Following a depleting season, he brought in high-level talent with D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt. All three players played a huge role in helping the team make it to the playoffs.
— Travis Jacque' Rose (@JacqueRoseTV) June 28, 2023
Russell agreed on a two-year, $37 million deal.
Hachimura resigned with the Lakers on a three-year 51 million-dollar contract.
The franchise also picked up Vanderbilt’s option.
Undrafted guard Austin Reaves has slowly made a name for himself among Laker fans. Reaves has been making a huge impact in the starting lineup since coming off the bench with his shooting efficiency and defense. The Lakers were able to resign Reaves to a four-year, $56 million deal. Reaves has become a vital part of the team, and the Lakers are confident he will continue to be a key contributor to the team’s success.
Los Angeles Lakers Free Agent Signees
As a result of the Timberwolves declining his player option, Taurean Prince signed a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with the Lakers. Prince averaged 9.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists last season. The 29-year-old is a proven three-and-D type of player who can provide solid depth off the bench for the Lakers.
After a historic NBA Finals run with the Miami Heat, undrafted guard Gabe Vincent chose to sign with the Lakers over returning to the Heat. Vincent signed a three-year $33 million deal. He averaged 12.7 points and shot 37.8% from beyond the arc. Vincent brings veteran leadership and the ability to knock down the three-pointer, which could be a valuable asset for the Lakers, who struggled from beyond the arc in the playoffs.
Bron recapping the Lakers free agency moves on his IG story 💰 pic.twitter.com/pedRIxh2ki
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 1, 2023
Jaxon Hayes and Cam Reddish
The Lakers signed Jaxson Hayes on a two-year deal for the veteran minimum with a player option in the second year. Hayes was recently in the news for pleading no contest in a domestic dispute case that occurred in 2021. The Lakers have not commented on the incident but are confident in Hayes as a player. Hayes was sentenced to three years of probation, 450 hours of community service, and a year of weekly domestic violence classes. He has a natural offensive and defensive feel for the ball. The potential for his game to improve even further exists if he can apply the lessons he learned through his mistakes.
Free agent Cam Reddish agreed to a two-year $4.6 million deal, including a player option in year two. The former Duke Blue Devil was a top 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. However, he was traded to the New York Knicks for Kevin Knox and a pick in the first round. Reddish is a great example of how hard work and dedication can lead to success. His commitment to improving his game goes beyond bouncing around the league. The 6’7″ forward can score in a variety of ways and can play defense.
Lakers vs. The League
While the Lakers may have improved their roster with some key free agent signings, they still have strong competition in the league. This is with the likes of the reformed BIG three (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal) in Phoenix. Nevertheless, free agency is far from over, with superstar Damian Lillard demanding a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard has stated he would like to be traded to the Miami Heat. It was expected that the franchise would accommodate his request. However, since then, they have remained silent but vigilant in finding solutions that could benefit both parties.
Who's the biggest winner of free agency so far? 🤔
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The Miami Heat don’t have enough assets to acquire Lillard. As the situation stands, the franchise will likely have to look for a trade partner in order to get Lillard on the team. While the NBA world awaits a final decision, James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers are exploring all trade scenarios. The Sixers are under no obligation to trade Harden, but the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are both interested in acquiring the former MVP. It remains to be seen if the Heat will be able to find a suitable trade partner or if the Sixers will decide to part ways with Harden.
So far, this NBA free agency has been a frenzy, with Chris Paul to the Golden State Warriors, Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics, and upcoming talented players getting drafted all around the league. Not to mention big paychecks for key players. It’s been an exciting time for basketball fans. Players are signing with new teams and looking to make an impact. With the season just around the corner, the anticipation is building for what’s to come.