Max Christie has seen an uptick in his playing time for the Los Angles Lakers recently, and the 20-year-old reportedly is enhancing his profile as he heads toward becoming a free agent.
“Max Christie, the second-year guard who has played his way into the rotation, has value and fans around the league, but his restricted free agency this summer suppresses some of his worth,” wrote Dan Woike.
A second-round pick (No. 35 overall) in the 2022 NBA Draft, Christie is playing his second season with the Lakers. He has appeared in each of the Lakers’ past six games after not seeing any action in five of the seven games prior to that.
Christie is being used more often in the rotation as the Lakers are trying to reverse some recent poor fortunes. Since winning the NBA Cup as the champion of the first In-Season Tournament on Dec. 9, they have gone 5-11 and lost four in a row before capturing two of their past three games.
They are coming off a 127-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday when Christie scored 14 points playing more than 24 minutes off the bench. During the recent stretch of six games with him getting playing time, Los Angeles is 2-4.
The team’s extended cold streak has raised questions about the future of head coach Darvin Ham, but the organization reportedly plans to be patient as he continues to grow in his second season at the helm. Another recent rotation change was the removal of D’Angelo Russell from the starting lineup, a move made after Ham reportedly consulted with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Christie may be revealing himself as a legitimate option for the Lakers if they choose to move other players with the NBA trade deadline approaching early next month.
Austin Reaves’ name is being mentioned as someone who could possibly be dealt away, although the Lakers reportedly don’t see trading him for Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray as something that would move the needle.
Christie will get another chance to impress on Saturday night when the Lakers play at the Utah Jazz and try to get back to the .500 mark.