NBA rumors suggest Lakers got Austin Reaves steal, now focus shifts to center | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

Austin ReavesHarry Comment/Getty Images

The perfect NBA offseason may not exist, but the Los Angeles Lakers are poised to cap as ideal an offseason as they could have given their cap constraints.

Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles front office have been successful in bringing in some very promising rotating players like Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes. They also managed to bring back key contributors like Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves.

Reaves, a budding star who averaged 13.0 points, three rebounds and 3.4 assists, was key to launching a successful foray into free agency. Those numbers don’t accurately reflect Reaves’ value late in the season and in the playoffs, where he was the team’s third-best player behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Recover Reaves over four years. A $53.8 million deal was a bargain for Los Angeles, and recent reports suggest what a steal that deal was.

“I think the Reaves contract has a chance to be one of the best contracts in the league from a team perspective,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the Lowe Post podcast (h/t Matthew Valento of Lakers Nation). “And the Lakers were very, very lucky that no one put them through their noses. And I know San Antonio was going back and forth on that and for some reason they didn’t, and that’s a robbery.”

Retaining Reaves was huge because it allowed LA to get Russell back at point guard instead of paying too much to find an upgrade either in free agency or on a sign-and-trade deal.

Yes, Russell’s limits were on full display against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. However, those limitations may not be as much of a factor if Reaves overtakes Russell as the Lakers’ third offensive option – and according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, that’s the plan:

The Lakers plan to shift more of their offense through Reaves next season, unlocking the playmaking skills he demonstrated in his first two years in the league, team sources say. not authorized to speak publicly.”

So the Lakers were able to bring Russell back on a relatively team-friendly, two-year, $37 million deal and retain enough assets to sign Reddish and Hayes while using the 17th overall pick on Jalen. Hood Schifino.

On paper, the Lakers have a much bigger roster than they had this time last year — and arguably a lot deeper than the one that reached the conference finals. According to Buha, however, LA isn’t quite finished:

“LA is targeting another big man with his 14th spot on the roster, according to team sources. They are likely to take 14 guaranteed contracts in the season, leaving a spot on the roster open. Mo Bamba, to which the Lakers waived on Thursday, and Tristan Thompson, who joined the team just before their playoff run, remain options to take that 14th spot, according to league sources.

Bamba recently signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles may soon start to see other options leave the market as well.

According Shams Charania from Athletic and Stadium, the Phoenix Suns are not the “favorites” to sign Bol Bol, who was recently dropped by the Dallas Mavericks. Centers like Christian Wood and Bismack Biyombo are still around, but chances are the Lakers will just bring Thompson back for another run.

Thompson is a solid defensive player, but he doesn’t offer a ton offensively. However, that might not be an issue with Hayes playing behind Davis and two-way free agent Colin Castleton potentially in the mix.

Pelinka discussed the team’s envisioned role for Hayes during ESPN’s broadcast of Friday’s Summer Championship game against the Golden State Warriors (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll):

“He’s a big kid, a rim protector, he plays with a lot of energy and he’s also a really good screen passer, so when you have guards like D’Angelo Russell who really want to operate in the pick-and-roll and having Austin Reaves as a secondary ball handler, we thought Jaxson would be a great fit for those guys with the way he plays.”

And the summer league games provided some reason to believe LA might have gotten a steal at Castleton as well.

As Buha recently explained, Castleton could serve as a heavy hitter in the team’s rotation.

“He’s more than just a big body, he’s an incredibly gifted attacking player,” Buha wrote, also noting that Castleton exhibited “advanced traits and instincts that only the best passers possess.”

So even if the Lakers bring back Thompson, who was added just before last year’s playoffs, the center depth behind Davis is much better and more versatile than it was a year ago. It’s relevant because Davis has a long history of missing time through injury.

Los Angeles, however, will likely take their time before settling on Thompson or any other big man to complete their 14-man roster in order to make the best decision possible. There’s really no rush because, at this point, the Lakers’ offseason has already been a huge success.

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