This summer, the Los Angeles Lakers free agency will be very important. The team’s time with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is coming to an end, so they need to make some moves for one last run. The team has Lakers free agents, like Austin Reaves, that they need to re-sign. They can also go after players after the 2023 NBA Draft. Here are the four best NBA free agents that LA Lakers should try to sign in 2023.
4. Seth Curry
This will be a common theme for these best free agent targets for the LA Lakers: the team needs shooters and players who can handle the ball to play with James and Davis. With the Lakers’ price cap the way it is now, the team can likely sign two low- to mid-level veteran free agents and keep a few key Lakers free agents.
Seth Curry should be one of the first people to go after. The experienced guard can handle the ball, make plays, and shoot from long range. He is a great part of almost any attack, and playing with James and Davis will give him more open shots than he has ever seen.
Curry has made 43.5% of his 3-point shots throughout his career, and in any season where he’s played more than two games, that number has never dropped below 40%. He has also scored more than 12 points per game throughout six seasons, with a 15.2% career usage rate.
Curry has a lot of problems on defense, but his job will be to provide quick offense off the bench and handle the ball with the second team. This makes him a good free-agent target for the LA Lakers after the NBA draft.
3. Max Strus
The Miami Heat are Max Strus is another player LA could think about putting on the team with Seth Curry instead of him. Strus shoots 37.1% from deep and can help his LA Lakers friends spread the floor.
He would also bring the Heat’s way of thinking to the West Coast, which Lebron is very familiar with. Strus has spent his whole NBA career so far playing for Erik Spoelstra, so he knows how to play team basketball on both ends of the court and how hard it takes to play high-level team defense.
Strus came into his own this season. He played in 80 games, played for 28.4 minutes, scored 11.5 points, grabbed 3.2 boards, and gave out 2.1 assists. And for the free agents the Lakers want to sign, it’s important to play that many games.
The players on this team are getting older, so it’s as important who can fill the minutes during the regular season as how they do it.
2. Rui Hachimura
The LA Lakers got a big boost when they added Rui Hachimura in the middle of the season. Now, they need to find a way to keep their restricted free agents. In NBA free agency, the Lakers can match any deal he gets from another team. However, another team can make it hard for the Lakers to match by giving him a bad deal.
But there is another restricted Lakers free agent who will get more interest and unique contract offers than Hachimura (more on that below).
Hachimura, who has been in the NBA for four years, was a great fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis this year, especially in the playoffs. The Lakers got as far as they did because they could score, pass the ball, and guard more than one spot.
Hachimura scored 20 or more points four times in this year’s playoffs. Against the Denver Nuggets, he was one of the team’s best and most steady players, scoring 17, 21, 13, and 10 points in the four-game sweep.
Hachimura was put in the wrong role as a team-carrying star in Washington. He has found his niche as a sixth man and clutch player for the Lakers, so LA needs to do everything it can to keep him.
1. Austin Reaves
Austin Reaves is the team’s other limited free agent. This season, the young sharpshooter hit 39.8% from deep and went from being an undrafted unknown to a well-known NBA name.
Reaves was great in the playoffs, just like Rui Hachimura. He was one of the few bright spots in the Nuggets’ awful final sweep. Reaves has had seven playoff games with 20 or more points. Against Denver, he scored 23, 22, 23, and 17 points.
In the NBA of today, a young shooter like Reaves, who can also make plays (3.4 assists) and handle the ball, is very important. Teams will go after him hard because of this, giving him offer sheets that aren’t bad for the first year or two but get close to the maximum in the last two.
Even if the LA Lakers bring in other shooters like Curry and Struss, they have to keep Reaves as part of their plans for free agency. Reaves is only 25 years old so that he could be a long-term building block for the team as well as a key player this season.