The Lakers benefitted from strong postseasons from both Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura as they earned a spot in the Western Conference Finals. Now, they’ll have to pay up to keep both of them.
By all accounts, the Lakers seem prepared to do just that with Reaves and Rui high on the priority list this offseason. Overall, the Lakers have expressed a desire to keep their young core together with Rob Pelinka saying as much during exit interviews this week.
That will entail quite the paydays for Reaves and Hachimura. While the former will almost certainly be offered the maximum the Lakers can, Hachimura’s market will be a bit more interesting. He will not be getting the maximum but he will be getting plenty of money.
On Thursday, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports wrote about the Lakers upcoming free agency including Rui and what a deal may look like this offseason.
During extension conversations with the Wizards, sources said, Washington began the negotiations offering Hachimura around $12 million per season, and eventually moved into the $13 million-14 million range. Meanwhile, Hachimura’s side preferred something closer to a four-year, $60 million structure. He seemed destined for that number toward the end of the regular season. Los Angeles doesn’t surrender three second-round picks for Hachimura at the deadline without a rough understanding of his salary wishes. Following a strong playoffs, where the 24-year-old forward played critical closing minutes and started the Lakers’ final outing, that $15 million in average annual value seems like the floor for Hachimura. Josh Hart’s extension talks with New York are expected to approach $18 million annually, sources told Yahoo Sports, and the NBA free-agent marketplace tends to be a comparative economy.
Previously, it had been reported that Rui and his camp were likely going to start discussions on a new deal at a number near the cap hold of $18.8 million, which would more or less go with what Fischer reported. Rui earned himself a lot of money this postseason, but his value to the Lakers will be worth it.
The Lakers have lacked a wing like him since trading away Kyle Kuzma for Russell Westbrook. And in many ways, Rui is different than Kuzma. He’s a big-bodied player that can help the Lakers in the regular season, particularly in allowing LeBron James to take a reduced role.
He proved his worth these playoffs, and while he may have struggled in the regular season with the Lakers, he stepped up when it mattered most. The Lakers can’t — and don’t seem willing to — let him walk this summer, even if it’ll come at a pretty penny.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.