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Jaxson Hayes makes decision on return to LA next season

Jaxson Hayes makes decision on return to LA next season

Los Angeles Lakers big man Jaxson Hayes will use his $2.4 million player option for the 2024-2025 season to stay in the purple and gold.

Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the news via Twitter/X.

Hayes, with his decision to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers, is looking to establish himself as a top reserve center behind superstar Anthony Davis. Despite the initial struggles, Hayes has shown promise and his progress throughout the season has been encouraging, cementing his role within the team.

Hayes’ decision to remain with the Lakers not only has to do with his personal career, but also has significant implications for the roster and dynamic of the team at this point in the offseason. He would have been on his way to a one-year deal at a similar salary had he opted out and hit the free agency market. The 24-year-old is an athletic big who has helped the Lakers tremendously at times; however, the Lakers need a big center who can take the burden off Davis. While Hayes has some value, he is not the type of center the Lakers need to achieve contender status.

Hayes ended up playing a more important role than many expected due to injuries to Jarred Vanderbilt and Christian Wood. With Vanderbilt and Wood back and healthy, the competition for playing time has intensified, leaving Hayes to fight for minutes this season.

The athletic big man averaged 4.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists while shooting 72 percent from the field and 62.2 percent from the free throw line in 70 games.

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