The Lakers are on the brink of elimination and many fans are wondering what direction the franchise the take next season, especially after seeing players like Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura develop so successfully.
The purple and gold are determined to keep both Reaves and Hachimura as they become restricted free agents over the summer, according to NBA Insider Marc Stein.
“There is frankly no scenario, based on what I know, that Reaves won’t be a Laker next season,” Stein wrote. “Even if a team or two out there does decide to put a higher offer on the table than the maximum four-year, $51 million deal that the Lakers can offer, all indications are that the Lakers will match whatever they must to keep the restricted free agent.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also shares the same view and believes the Lakers would be crazy to let Reaves or Hachimura go.
“Both restricted free agents, I don’t see any scenario where the Lakers would not match on both.,” Woj said on his podcast. “They have to… They’ve proved themselves to be win-now players with LeBron and Anthony Davis on their timeline (and) these are both starting-level players… Again, they will match on those two. They just cannot let them leave.”
In just his second NBA season, Reaves has been a difference-maker for LA and his performances earned him a spot in the starting five.
In the postseason, the guard is averaging 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 45.9 shooting from the field and 44.2 percent shooting from three.
During the regular season, he bested his rookie season points average by six and has stepped up in big moments all season long.
As for Hachimura, he’s a player the Lakers “traded for with the idea they’re going to have a long future with him,”, Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Thursday and Stein says LA are “quite eager” to re-sign the Japanese native.
The forward has been a shining light in the Lakers-Nuggets series as he’s averaged 17 points in the last three games and tried to contain Nikola Jokic.
LeBron and Anthony Davis are already taking up close to $90 million of salary alone for 2023-24, so only time will tell if the Lakers will be able to retain both young rising stars in Reaves and Hachimura.