Report: Lakers expected to match contract offers for both Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura

Mike Battaglino
5 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to match any contract offers received by Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura this offseason, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported this week.

Reaves and Hachimura each will be a restricted free agent, which allows the Lakers to match. They have become vital players in helping the Lakers reach the NBA Western Conference Finals.

“I don’t see any scenario where the Lakers would not match on both,” Wojnarowski said on his podcast.

Reaves signed with the Lakers as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2021-22 season. This postseason, he is third on the Lakers in points per game (16.9) and minutes per game (35.9), behind only LeBron James and Anthony Davis in each.

Hachimura was acquired Jan. 23 in a trade with the Washington Wizards for guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks in the NBA draft (2023, 2028, 2029). He is averaging 12.3 points and 23.1 minutes in these playoffs, with his playing time up to 30.7 minutes in the three games against the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals.

Reaves reportedly can receive $50.8 million over four years if the Lakers use his Bird Rights, and as much as $98.6 million from another team, according to The Athletic.

“I would love to be here my whole career,” Reaves told ESPN. “Just the way that the fans treat me, the love they have for me, as an undrafted player, it’s kind of like they raised me type of vibe. … It feels like it’s meant to be. It feels like this all happened for a reason and this is where I should be.”

Hachimura has an $18.8 million cap hold and is likely to receive contract offers in that neighborhood. At the time of the trade, it was believed the Lakers were expecting to keep him beyond this season.

Reaves this regular season increased his starts, minutes, field-goal percentage and points per game, over his rookie season. James has spoken highly of him, and Lakers owner Jeannie Buss reportedly wants to keep him on the team.

“I knew from the first practice that we had when we grabbed him that he wasn’t going to be a two-way player for long,” James said. “… I just know. I’ve been around the game long enough to know great basketball-IQ players and I know the type of players that fit with my game. And I knew Austin would be that right away.”

After Hachimura joined the Lakers, they were 21-13 in the regular season and defeated the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors to advance in the playoffs, after winning a play-in game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“With Rui, I see the type of player he is and can become and I just try to stay in his ear, give him positive motivation, positive messages letting him know how important he is on our team,” James said during the first round against Memphis. “In order for us to reach the goal we want to reach, he has to be a huge part of that and he wants to be. He’s asked me multiple times ‘What can I do to help the team win’ and I tell him exactly what I think he can do.”

The Lakers also have to make a decision on free agent D’Angelo Russell, who has struggled at times this postseason. Wojnarowski has reported that the Lakers have had preliminary contract talks with the guard.

The Lakers could be dealing with the offseason much earlier than they wanted. They have lost the first three games of the conference finals against the Nuggets and are facing elimination in Game 4 on Monday night.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.