Lakers make a decision on how they value restricted free agent Max Christie

The Los Angeles Lakers have finally clarified how much they value free agent guard Max Christie.
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers made a commitment to the future when they hired head coach JJ Redick. In the same breath that Redick was added, general manager Rob Pelinka made it clear that he believes Los Angeles has a young core worth building around.

One of the names who Pelinka and Redick have identified as a member of that young core has now been formally valued by the Lakers entering restricted free agency.

During Redick's introductory press conference, Pelinka mentioned four players as the Lakers' young core. Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves headlined the list, while up-and-comers Jalen Hood-Schifino and Max Christie surprisingly flanked them despite how former head coach Darvin Ham overlooked them in his rotation.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, the Lakers have put their money where their mouth is by tendering a qualifying offer to Christie, thus confirming his restricted free agent status.

As a result of this financial commitment, the Lakers reserve the right to match any offer that Christie receives in free agency.

Christie, 21, was selected by the Lakers at No. 35 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. Prior to that selection, he was heralded as a five-star recruit and McDonald's All-American at the high school level, and earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors with the Michigan State Spartans.

At the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, he measured at just under 6'6" in shoes with a near 6'9" wingspan, ran the fastest three-quarter sprint, and ranked near the top of his class in all strength and agility drills.

Christie has struggled to find playing time in the NBA, averaging just 12.5 minutes per game as a rookie and 14.1 in 2023-24. When he's been on the court, his 3-and-D potential has been clear to see, as he's knocked down 37.8 percent of his three-point field goals.

Considering the Lakers ranked 24th in three-point field goals made in 2023-24, Christie playing bigger minutes could mean directly addressing a significant weakness.

It's still possible that Christie will receive an offer that the Lakers are unwilling to match. The fact that the qualifying offer has been tendered at a time when financial resources are already limited, however, shows how valued he is in Los Angeles.

If the Lakers are able to re-sign Christie this summer, then it stands to reason that Redick will have a larger role for him than Ham found between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.