Report: Retaining Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura is still Lakers’ offseason preference

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have some tough decisions to make in the coming offseason, especially with Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura set to become restricted free agents.

Their performances this season, especially in the playoffs, might entice other teams to take fliers on them and send them offer sheets that could have the Lakers thinking twice before matching. Even so, the Lakers appear ready to match any offers for them.

NBA insider Marc Stein doubled down on that, saying that Los Angeles still prefers to hold onto both players.

“Retaining restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, continues to be regarded as the Lakers’ preferred offseason course,” wrote Stein on his Substack.

Between the two, Reaves should probably be the organization’s priority, considering how well he played in the 2022-23 season. After the Lakers promoted him to the starting lineup, the undrafted guard out of the University of Oklahoma elevated his game.

Over the 22 regular season games he started this campaign, the second-year pro averaged 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per match. He raised his numbers in the playoffs, where he put up 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest. It’s become evident that he can provide the team with another reliable shot creator behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

As for Hachimura, the former lottery pick did an admirable job giving the squad size, shooting and length in the frontcourt. He was the Lakers’ fifth-leading scorer in the playoffs and one of their bright spots in an unfortunate Western Conference Finals that saw them get swept by the No. 1-seeded Denver Nuggets.

While many of his teammates struggled against Denver, Hachimura had a solid series. He posted 15.3 points and 3.8 boards per match on a 53.3 percent shooting clip. He displayed how the Lakers can utilize him properly off the bench, although it became evident that he can also moonlight well as a starter when needed.

Trading Kendrick Nunn and a few second-round draft picks to obtain the 25-year-old forward from the Washington Wizards proved to be a wise decision for the Lakers.

Of course, retaining both Reaves and Hachimura on the roster might not be as easy as it sounds given the franchise’s salary cap situation and occasional affinity for hunting for big names.

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