The Los Angeles Lakers are keeping the NBA free agency moves coming as the team has agreed to terms with former top-10 pick big man Jaxson Hayes, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Hayes was selected by the Pelicans (via the Hawks) with the No. 8 picks in the 2019 NBA draft.
“Free agent center Jaxson Hayes has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski said in a series of July 1, 2023 tweets. “Hayes will have a player option in the second year, sources tell ESPN. Lakers land the ex-Pelicans 7-footer to fortify their frontline.”
Hayes marks the second former highly touted lottery pick that the Lakers have landed in free agency. Los Angeles also agreed to terms with 23-year-old wing Cam Reddish who was the No. 10 selections in the 2019 NBA draft.
Here is a look at some of Hayes’ top highlights from Texas that helped make him a top-10 pick.
New Los Angeles Lakers Center Jaxson Hayes Was the No. 8 Pick in the 2019 NBA draft
Neither player has quite lived up to the expectations that accompany being a high draft pick, but the Lakers are betting on a change of scenery helping change the trajectory of their careers. Hayes averaged 7.5 points and 4 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game over his first four NBA seasons in New Orleans. Heading into the 2019 NBA draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony praised Hayes’ “physical tools, mobility and instincts” coming out of Texas.
“Hayes came into the season as a complete unknown after hitting a significant growth spurt in high school and registering little productivity prior to college,” Givony wrote on June 20, 2019. “He proved to be a high-end NBA prospect early on, thanks to his phenomenal physical tools, mobility and instincts on both ends of the floor, cementing himself as the top center prospect in the draft.
“Hayes’ lack of experience, a relatively raw offensive game and still developing a feel likely will relieve him to project status for most NBA teams, but that shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent at this point in the draft.”
Jaxson Hayes Is Just 23 Years Old & Has a Massive 7’3.5″ Wingspan
Hayes signed a four-year, $22.1 million rookie contract with New Orleans but the center’s new agreement with the Lakers appeared to be more of a prove-it deal. The new Los Angeles center is 6’11.5″ with a 7’3.5″ wingpan and is still just 23 years old.
The Lakers have also signed Reddish, Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince as part of their first moves of free agency. Los Angeles re-signed Rui Hachimura but lost Dennis Schroder to the Raptors. According to Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turnerthe Lakers front office views Hayes as a player who can potentially fill the role Dwight Howard had in 2020.
“Sources confirm the Lakers and center Jaxson Hayes have agreed to 2 year deal,” Turner tweeted. “Lakers view Hayes as a physical center like they had in Dwight Howard in 2020.”
For the Lakers, all eyes continue to be on Austin Reaves’ future in Los Angeles. Reaves remains a restricted free agent meaning Los Angeles can match any offer the promising guard receives.
More Heavy on Lakers News
Loading more stories