In what has been a torrid season for the Los Angeles Lakers thus far, Austin Reaves has been a rare bright spot.
However, given the Lakers’ precarious roster construction, there is always a risk that a player such as Reaves could be traded in order to upgrade a position of need. However, according to a Western Conference Executive, who spoke with Heavy On Sports NBA Insider Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, it’s unlikely the Lakers would part ways with the sophomore shooting guard.
“One of the things you do when you are looking at your roster is figure out what each player’s value is to your team and what he would be worth to other teams. It’s guesswork, but there are guys who you look at, they’re good players, but they don’t fit what you do and have more value by being traded. Then there are the opposite guys, the guys who are way more valuable to you than they would be to everyone else.
That’s where Reaves is with the Lakers. He is worth a lot more to them than what they’d get on the trade market for him. Now, they have to pay him in free agency, and we will have to see how that goes. And if the time comes when they get some big offer for a blockbuster, and they have to include Reaves or the deal falls apart, you bet they’re going to go ahead and include him. But they love the guy, LeBron loves the guy, they’re not trading him now,” The executive said.
In his 36 games this season, Reaves is averaging 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 48.8% from the field and 36% from the perimeter, all while providing some respectable defense on the other side of the court.
Brian Windhorst Unimpressed With Lakers Current Roster
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who was speaking on a January 20 episode of his The Hoop Collective podcast, the Lakers’ current struggles are due to their lack of genuine talent behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which is why the front office is unlikely to mortgage their future by trading away their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
“This is what happens to bad teams. You are five games below, six games below, whatever they are under .500, because you can’t handle your business at the end of games. Because Russ runs into traffic, and this is why LeBron is screaming about the calls…When you’re screaming about the officiating, it’s because you need everything…I don’t blame Rob Pelinka…I don’t blame Jeanie Buss either, if they’re not trying to cut into the future to try and get this team into the play-in tournament,” Windhorst said.
Kendrick Pekins Believes Lakers Punishing LeBron James
While speaking on a January 19 episode of ESPN’S NBA Today, Kendrick Perkins noted how he believes the Lakers’ reluctance to improve their current roster could potentially be their way of punishing LeBron James for his part in the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.
“It almost feels like, in my opinion, that Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss is punishing LeBron for the Russell Westbrook trade, meaning, ‘You played a huge part in getting Russell Westbrook here, and we know we have these two draft picks and we’re not going to trade them because you wanted him. You wanted him, Bron. So now you have to deal with it. You made your bed, you have to lay in it,’” Perkins said.