NBA Free Agency Rumors: Lakers Hoping To Re-Sign Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder & Lonnie Walker IV
Dennis Schroder, D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 season got off to a rough start for the Los Angeles Lakers, although they were able to turn it around after the trade deadline to make the Western Conference Finals.

The moves that Rob Pelinka executed at the deadline were a big reason for that as they brought in guys like D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, who immediately came in and changed the culture in the locker room.

It was clear from the jump after the deadline that the Lakers had great chemistry, and although it didn’t result in a championship, that is something the Lakers lacked the last two seasons.

Pelinka is aware of this as ahead of the start of free agency, he preached the need for continuity, expressing a desire to keep the Lakers’ core together this offseason.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, that includes the Lakers wanting to bring back Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV and Russell:

For the first time in the LeBron James-Anthony Davis era, the Lakers are expected to prioritize continuity and chemistry over chasing flashier upgrades this offseason.

That could always change based on the Lakers’ track record and how the rest of free agency plays out. But all indications, both publicly and privately, point to the organization planning to re-sign restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura and unrestricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, as The Athletic previously reported. The Lakers are also expected to try to retain unrestricted free agent Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker IV, though they do not have full Bird rights on either.

Reaves and Hachimura will be the easiest for the Lakers to retain as they are both restricted free agents, so L.A. can match any offer sheets they sign.

If the Lakers do indeed want to keep Russell then that shouldn’t be a problem either as he is expected to have a limited market. Plus, the Lakers have his full bird right and can go over the cap to re-sign the point guard.

The Lakers do not have bird right on Schroder and Walker, however, so they will be the most difficult to re-sign depending on how much interest they get from other teams.

Because Schroder signed for the minimum last season, the Lakers would likely need to use part or all of their mid-level exception to sign him. Walker was the Lakers’ mid-level signing last year, so they can offer him a slight raise from his $6.5 million 2022-23 salary.

If the Lakers do bring all of these guys back then they will be very guard-heavy, especially after drafting Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th overall pick last week.

There aren’t a ton of wings and bigs available on the free agent market though, which is why L.A. is prioritizing bringing guys back from last season to see what they can do with a full training camp and regular season together.

Lakers to guarantee Vanderbilt’s salary for 2023-24 season

One other player who will unsurprisingly be back in the fold next season is Vanderbilt, as the Lakers are reportedly guaranteeing his $4.7 million salary.

That will make Vanderbilt extension-eligible in September, and there’s no doubts both sides will have interest in getting something done.

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