It’s the dog days of summer, and, for the first time in a while, all is quiet on the Los Angeles Lakers front.
Media Day is about 10 weeks away before training camp starts in October. Preseason Tips closed on 2. October. 7. Until then, here are three developments for Lakers fans to monitor.
Austin Reeves won the offseason (A lemon daddy summer, Perhaps?). 25-year-old earns four-year, $54 million contract (The scratch golfer can now secure that club membership, He signed a lucrative deal with Rigorer and his first signature shoe, the AR1, is set to launch in August. Derwin Ham declared him the starting shooting guard and called him a future All-Star.
And, he was included in the national team roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Team USA head coach Steve Kerr explained, “To me, Austin is just a basketball player.” “He is a guy who really affects winning at a high level. His story is quite surprising, considering he was not selected two years ago and is now playing for Team USA and is one of the top three players on the Lakers. But this is not an accident. This guy can play and there’s no doubt he’ll make a big impact for our team.”
“I agree with everything,” said Grant Hill, Team USA’s managing director. “When you look at his story and see how he has broken down so many doors and created an opportunity for himself on the NBA stage, there is a real toughness that comes with that emotion, the shooting, the playmaking. … He’s fearless, but a man with incredible intelligence and knows how to play.”
Austin Reeves @AustinReaves15 talks about the opportunity to play for Team USA @fibawc But @allthesmoke Podcast ? Brother Really Went From Undrafted To Playing With The Lakers @usbasketball, dope career already going on #FIBAWC #win for all #naismithtrophytour pic.twitter.com/vy0BqiHtW1
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) 22 July 2023
Reeves will be joined by Paolo Banchero, Mickal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Halliburton, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr., Cam Johnson, Walker Kessler and Bobby Portis. As always with international competitions, it will be interesting to see who plays out in tough time scenarios.
2) 14th roster spot
The Lakers have two open roster spots. They’ll likely keep one open going into the season for flexibility purposes (they have an additional $1.4 million for a midseason buyout deal). According to Rob Pelinka, the Lakers are looking for another big because the Lakers aim to deploy a two-big lineup. Pelinka is looking for a player with a different skill than Jackson Hayes.
“We’re in the market to add another biggie…fill the 14th spot before training camp…dimensioning skills at that position will be key. That’s why we don’t want to sign someone who duplicates the skills of Jackson Hayes. So if we can diversify the big position and have different looks, that would be nice.
are the lakers allegedly operating “Important background work” on Christian Wood. Wood’s defense is less than stellar, though his production — 18.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, on 50.1% shooting, 38.1% from 3 over the past three seasons — may be too tempting to pass up on the minimum.
Adding a physical, defensive-minded guy like Bismac Biyombo or Tristan Thompson is also a possibility. Two-way rookie Collin Castleton is competing for a roster spot in the line.
Now that we know LeBron James is coming back, the most important remaining question of the Lakers’ offseason will be whether Anthony Davis signs to the extension.
Davis, 30, is owed $40.6 million in 2023-24. Like LeBron, he has a player option for 2024-25 ($43.2 million). Beginning Aug. 4, Eddie will be eligible to sign a 3-year, maximum $167.6 million extension, bringing the total value of his deal to $251.4 million over five years.
Initially, it was fair to wonder whether the Lakers would make an offer right away, despite Eddie’s impressive 2022-23 season and dominant defensive performance in the playoffs. In theory, the Lakers can wait to see if he can stay healthy and become the team’s consistent best player for the entire season. At that point, they can reassess their feelings about Davis as the franchise centerpiece, assess LeBron’s situation — he has a player option for 2024-25 — and then take a call.
Of course, modern NBA stars aren’t like that – and Rich Paul’s clients certainly aren’t either. If the offer is not submitted as soon as possible, Davis may ask for a trade.
As the date draws closer, all signs are pointing towards an agreement between the two sides.
Pelinka said in Las Vegas, “I wish the CBA would allow us to talk about negotiations … but there are very strict rules.” “But, as a Laker and as a player, can’t think of more good things for Anthony Davis. He has helped our franchise get the championship. He has been an incredible captain and leader. We saw last year that he was willing to play through a serious foot injury to lead his team to the Western Conference Finals. So, it feels great to have him as a part of our team.
on July 17 episode In The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said he expected to reach an agreement, though he questioned whether the Lakers would offer the full three-year maximum.
“Anthony Davis, in Rob’s estimation, is a guy who has represented the Lakers really well… and he wants to continue to have Anthony Davis as the Lakers… I’m not too concerned about how this thing goes, whether it’s the maximum amount of years or the maximum amount of dollars it reaches, that remains to be seen and will be figured out between Rich Paul and Rob Pelinka and Jenny Busch. But the way things are now, I am hopeful that some kind of settlement will be reached. …if no extension is offered, what do you do? You put pressure in another way and say I want to get out. That’s why I’m pretty confident that Anthony Davis will come into training camp with an extended deal.
(The fact that Pelinka and Ham have talked to Eddie about two big lineups next season is a pretty good indicator that he’ll be on the Lakers to start the season.)
Assuming the Lakers do extend an offer, the timing when Davis physically puts pen to paper will be remarkable. Remember: LeBron waited almost two weeks to sign his extension, making him ineligible to be traded during last season.