Lakers Make Final Call on Austin Reaves Future

Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers

According to a January 6 report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have made a final decision on the immediate futures of Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel.

“Reporting with @mcten: As expected, the Lakers are guaranteeing the contracts of Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel for the rest of the season,” Wojnarowski Tweeted.

Reaves started the season on a $1.56 million contract that was non-guaranteed, while Gabriel’s deal was worth $1.8 million for the season. Both Reaves and Gabriel are set to become free agents at the end of the current season; however, the Lakers do hold some control over Reaves’ future as he will be a restricted free agent should Los Angeles choose to extend him a qualifying offer. Gabriel, however, will become an unrestricted free agent.

The Lakers choosing to lock up Reaves and Gabriel for the remainder of the season should come as no surprise, especially in the case of Reaves, who has been an ever-present in the Lakers rotation and is becoming a genuine impact make for them off the bench.

Austin Reaves Is Enjoying Playing With LeBron James

On September 13, Reaves spoke with Shams Charania of The Athletic to preview his sophomore season. During the interview, the Lakers’ second-year guard discussed what it’s like playing alongside LeBron James.

“I mean, he really puts you in the right spots for you to be successful but also for the team. He really is someone that can orchestrate and really hold a game. For me to be able to share the floor with him, you know I have these moments like the meme that are very special to me and, you know, hopefully, we can keep doing it,” Austin Reaves said.

Reaves has played 36 games for the Lakers so far this season and is exceeding expectations with 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game, with 48.8% shooting from the field and 36% shooting from the perimeter.

Austin Reaves To Miss 2 Weeks With Injury

According to a January 6 report by Charania, Reaves will miss the next two weeks of gameplay due to a left hamstring strain, further adding to the Lakers’ current injury problems.

“Lakers‘ Austin Reaves will be re-evaluated in two weeks due to a left hamstring strain, team says. Lonnie Walker IV will also miss at least two weeks due to left knee tendinitis,” Charania reported.
The Lakers currently sit 12th in the NBA Western Conference, two places outside of the playoff picture, and will now need to deal with a weakened rotation that sees Anthony Davis, Reaves, and Lonnie Walker IV on the injury report for the foreseeable future.
With Reaves and Walker both out, it’s likely that we see Kendrick Nunn and Juan Toscano-Anderson benefit from some increased playing time; however, the Lakers need to find a winning formula if they want to keep fighting for a post-season spot. Otherwise, we could be about to witness the purple and gold miss out on the postseason for the second straight season, in what would be a hammer blow to LeBron James’ legacy and the hopes of fans around the world.