Lakers Officially Sign Jaxson Hayes To Two-Year Contract
Jaxson Hayes, Lakers
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers announced they have agreed to a two-year contract with free agent center Jaxson Hayes. The terms of the deal were not announced but it is reported to be for the veteran minimum with a player option in the second year. He will wear No. 11 in the purple and gold.

Hayes was the eighth overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, where he spent the first four years of his career. The pick actually originally came from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade.

In the 2022-23 season, Hayes averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks, only appearing in 47 games and playing 13 minutes a night.

The 23-year-old mainly came off the bench last season and his season highs were 21 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. He has operated as a center since coming into the league but has had to adapt to the power forward spot due to Zion Williamson and Jonas Valančiūnas.

In the 2021-22 season, Hayes had career-highs in scoring at 9.3 points and rebounds at 4.5 a night. He is at his best being a lob threat, using his 7’4″ wingspan to throw down monster dunks, as well as being a defensive roamer which allows him to use his athleticism and be able to protect the basket.

Hayes is still young and developing, but his length and athleticism allow him to finish well around the basket and serve as a last line of defense. It remains to be seen if he will be playing with Anthony Davis, but he will surely be coming off the bench, giving the Lakers some size on the interior.

At things currently stand, Hayes is the only big man on the roster outside of Davis although that will likely changed as the team is reportedly targeting some other centers with their final roster spot.

Castleton and Hodge also signed to two-way contracts

The Lakers have also locked down their two-way contracts for the 2023-24 season after announcing the signings of both Colin Castleton and D’Moi Hodge.

Under the new CBA, the NBA is now allowing teams to have three two-way contracts so Castleton and Hodge will join Cole Swider, who signed a two-year deal with the Lakers last summer.

If Castelton, in particular, impresses the Lakers brass during Summer League then he could find himself competing with Hayes for minutes in the regular season.

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