Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes the Lakers will do whatever it takes to bring Reaves back.
“Last season, Austin Reaves proved a fun find for the Purple and Gold as an undrafted rookie. This time around, he took such a dramatic step forward you can reasonably argue he’s already the third-most important player on the team,” Buckley wrote on April 13. “There really isn’t a weak spot on his stat sheet. His shooting slash sizzled to the tune of 52.9/39.8/86.4 accuracy. His scoring average spiked to 13 points for the season and 17.6 after the All-Star break. He more than doubled his 1.5 turnovers with 3.4 assists.
“Combine all of that production with the fact Reaves is just 24 years old, and it’s possible he priced himself out of the Lakers’ long-term plans. ‘If it gets to that $60 million-$70 million range for Austin Reaves, that’s a tough contract for the Lakers to match,’ The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania reported during a recent appearance on FanDuel TV. ‘He wants to give the Lakers every opportunity to try to get a deal done.’ This feels doable, unless someone absolutely blows up Reaves’ market. Unless a team thinks stardom is imminent for him, though, it’s hard to see him finding a deal that L.A. can’t match. Prediction: Reaves stays in L.A.”
As a restricted free agent, Reaves can re-sign with the Lakers or sign an offer sheet with another team. Los Angeles can match any offer sheet Reaves signs as long as it comes within 48 hours.
Reaves, who went undrafted out of Oklahoma, averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists this season while shooting 52.9% from the field, 39.8% from beyond the arc and 86.4% from the free-throw line.
Austin Reaves Wants to Stay With the Lakers
Reaves told Shams Charania of Stadium on April 10 that he wants to re-sign with the Lakers.
“Yeah I wanna be a Laker,” Reaves told Charania. “Obviously, they gave me the first opportunity. I was a huge Laker fan growing up. Big Kobe [Bryant] fan. So honestly, just to be able to play for the Lakers organization is special and I wanna be a Laker. So hopefully we can get this done and I can stay there for hopefully my whole career.”
“Reaves’ surge is setting him up for a fascinating offseason,” Buha wrote. “He will be a restricted free agent this summer, and will undoubtedly have multiple suitors looking to pry him from the Lakers — especially after stat lines like Sunday’s. 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 could 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.”
LeBron James Likes Austin Reaves’ Game
After the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns on April 7, LeBron James was asked by reporters if Reaves had surpassed his expectations of him. The King said he didn’t have any expectations since Reaves is an undrafted player.
“I didn’t have expectations for him,” James said. “When you get an undrafted guy on your roster, you don’t really have much expectations for him, but I knew the player that we were getting because like I said, I did watch a lot of film on him and seen his ability to play the point, play off the ball. He had a high basketball IQ, being able to either make plays for himself or find open guys and I could just see the IQ working every time he was playing a game at Oklahoma.”