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Reports: Rui Hachimura returns to Lakers on a 3-year, $51M deal

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Free agent forward Rui Hachimura will reportedly return to the Lakers on a long-term contract.

The team and Hachimura came to an agreement on a three-year contract worth $51 million, multiple media outlets reported.

The Lakers made Hachimura a restricted free agent when they officially extended qualifying offers to him and guard Austin Reaves on Tuesday.

Hachimura’s qualifying offer was for a one-year salary of $7.74 million, but he was always going to receive a far more lucrative deal during free agency.

The Lakers acquired Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, in a Jan. 23 trade with the Washington Wizards.

Hachimura averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in his 33 regular-season games with the Lakers. He found his offensive rhythm, especially as a 3-point shooter, during the playoffs, averaging 12.2 points (48.7% shooting from 3-point range) and 3.6 rebounds as a key part of the rotation (24.3 minutes – 16 games played and one start).

The Lakers said goodbye to two free agents from last season’s roster on Friday, when veteran guard Dennis Schröder and forward Troy Brown came to agreements with other teams. Schröder reportedly agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal with the Toronto Raptors while Brown is headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves on a one-year deal.

Reaves, a restricted free agent who played a significant role in the Lakers’ turnaround last season, didn’t sign an offer sheet with any team on the first day of free agency.

The Lakers are limited in the salary they can offer Reaves, 25, because they don’t have his full Bird rights – they have his Early Bird rights – after signing him to a two-year contract in September 2021.

The maximum contract the Lakers can offer Reaves is for around $52 million across four years. A team with significant salary cap space, such as the San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets, could offer Reaves a contract of up to four years, with the last two seasons as high as a maximum salary – around $98 million for the entirety of the contract.

But because of the Gilbert Arenas Provision in the collective bargaining agreement, which helps teams retain their own restricted free agents who are not coming off standard rookie scale deals, the Lakers can – and likely would – match any offer sheet Reaves signs with another team.

Guard D’Angelo Russell, who started for the Lakers after being acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, remains an unrestricted free agent.

Yahoo Sports reported that Russell and the Lakers could agree to terms on a two-year, $40 million deal with the second year a team option or non-guaranteed.

Mo Bamba and Malik Beasley also remain unrestricted free agents after the Lakers didn’t pick up Beasley’s $16.5 million team option for 2023-24 and waived Mo Bamba on Thursday before his $10.3 million salary for next season became guaranteed.

Those moves helped the Lakers stay below the $172 million luxury tax apron for the 2023-24 season, giving them access to the $12.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception entering free agency. They’ll use most of that exception to sign free agent guard Gabe Vincent, who they agreed to terms with on a three-year, $33 million contract on Friday.

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