In a season of on-court chaos and volatility, Austin Reaves has been a consistent bright spot. He may have earned himself a big new extension along the way.
The Lakers have been slammed by injuries all season long and turned their roster over with a series of trades that brought in four new key contributors. In those turbulent waters, Austin Reaves has been beyond reliable, an absolute rock.
Only three players have appeared in more games for the Lakers this season, just four have played more minutes. Across the season, he’s averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in just over 27.0 minutes per game. He’s played solid defense, been one of the few reliable outside shooters, adapted his offensive role when called upon and even summoned signature moments like the 35 points he scored against Orlando, inspiring jokes from LeBron and Anthony Davis about his propensity for getting calls like a star.
He’s not a star but he’s proven himself to be a high-level, versatile role player and that alone may have helped earn him a big new contract from the Lakers.
NBA rumors: Lakers are already planning for the next Austin Reaves contract
Reaves is a restricted free agent this offseason which means he can field offers from other teams, all of which the Lakers will have the option to match and retain him. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, both sides are interested in keeping Reaves in Los Angeles and the max the Lakers can offer is eye-popping.
"“Both the Lakers and Reaves’ camp have interest in Reaves re-signing in Los Angeles, according to multiple league sources who were granted anonymity so that they coud speak freely. The max the Lakers can offer Reaves is a four-year, $50.8 million contract if they chose to use his Early Bird Rights, but they also have the power to match any contract he signs with another team.”"
The Lakers will have their work cut out for them this offseason. In addition to trying to agree on a new deal with Reeves, they will have to make decisions on Malik Beasley’s $16.5 million player option and what to do with Mo Bamba’s $10 million partially guaranteed deal. In addition, Rui Hachimura will also be a restricted free agent and Lonnie Walker IV, D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder and Troy Brown Jr. will all be unrestricted.
NBA rumors have indicated that the Lakers would prefer to reinvest in this core than chase a max free agent like Kyrie Irving, but that doesn’t make the math any easier. Someone is going to get squeezed but, given who he’s playing right now, that someone probably won’t be Austin Reaves.
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