Lakers agree to 2-year deal with Jaxson Hayes

Lakers agree to 2-year deal with Jaxson Hayes – Free agent center Jaxson Hayes has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Hayes will have a player option on the second year, sources said.

Hayes, 23, has flashed the talent that got him drafted at No. 8 in 2019 in spurts across his four seasons in the NBA but has yet to gain traction as an every-day player. He played the fewest minutes of his young career for the Pelicans last season (13 per game) and appeared in only 47 games.

Hayes is an athletic finisher at 6-foot-11, has shot more than 75% from within 3 feet for his career and has shown the ability to knock down shots from floater range (3-10 feet). But the 3-point shot remains a work in progress and his best position on defense — as a power forward or a center — is still a question mark.

Hayes starred at Texas as a freshman, earning All-Big 12 honors in 2019.

Saturday morning’s move continues a busy start to free agency for the Lakers, who on Friday agreed to deals with Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish.

Lakers agree to two-year deal with center Jaxson Hayes

The Lakers continue to fill out their roster in the free-agent market, agreeing to a two-year deal with center Jaxson Hayes, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Hayes is the backup center the Lakers were looking for to play behind Anthony Davis.

At 6 feel 11, the Lakers view Hayes as a physical player they believe can play a similar role to that of Dwight Howard in 2020, when the Lakers won their 17th NBA title.

Hayes, 23, spent his first four seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. He averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per game last season, when he played in only 47 games because of injury, starting two.

Hayes was sentenced last year to 450 hours of community service, 52 weeks of domestic-violence classes and three years of probation after pleading no contest to two misdemeanor charges that resulted from an incident with his girlfriend in Woodland Hills in July 2021.

Hayes was a first-round draft pick out of Texas in 2019, selected eighth overall by the Atlanta Hawks. He was acquired by New Orleans soon after the draft in a multiple-player deal.

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