Lakers Set High Price for Austin Reaves: Report

Lakers' Austin Reaves and D'Angelo Russell

Getty D'Angelo Russell #1 and Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate during the game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Los Angeles Lakers have set a high price for their homegrown guard Austin Reaves in the trade market.

According to The Athletic’s Lakers beat reporter Jovan Buha, the team would only part ways with the undrafted guard on one condition.

“I’ve heard the Lakers do not want to trade Austin Reaves,” Buha said on “Buha’s Block” on May 10. “They love Austin Reaves. But, if there was a scenario in which they would consider trading him, it would have to be for a bonafide All-Star.”

In the weeks leading to the February trade deadline, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin explained in detail why the Lakers are reluctant to trade Reaves.

“I can’t imagine a better role player because [Reaves] has the trust of those two guys [James and Davis],” McMenamin said on the January 8 episode “The Lowe Post” podcast. “He has the confidence of those two guys. He’s been a proven playoff performer. He has the trust and the kind support of the Buss family — the brothers who identified him in the draft process and Governor Jeanie. That’s a point of pride for her to have someone like Austin Reeves who was a homegrown Laker organization product [and] become a star.”

Not to mention Reaves is under a bargain contract — $53.8 million over four years. After inking that deal last summer, Reaves played for Team USA and then had a career year in his third season in the NBA.

The 25-year-old guard averaged career highs across the board —  15.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds — while appearing in all 82 regular-season games.

Austin Reaves’ Closest Lakers Coach Fired

After their second consecutive playoff exit at the hands of the defending champion Denver Nuggets, the Lakers fired Darvin Ham and his entire coaching staff.

That includes Phil Handy, who has a strong relationship with Reaves.

“We put a lot of work together,” Reaves told Heavy Sports on April 17 in an exclusive interview while promoting his “Perfect 10” digital series, “before and after practice and sometimes at night. He’s the guy there that’s kind of been my main coach that I’ve really been working out with.”

Handy started his coaching career with the Lakers as player development coach under Mike Brown in 2011. He moved to Cleveland as an assistant coach under Brown in 2013. He stayed with the Cavaliers even after Brown was let go and forged a strong relationship with LeBron James during their championship season and three NBA Finals run under Ty Lue.

Handy moved to Toronto and was part of Nick Nurse’s coaching staff when they won the 2019 NBA championship. He returned to the Lakers when Frank Vogel was hired and won his third NBA ring in the Orlando Bubble.

Austin Reaves for Trae Young?

The Lakers made no secret about their plans to go third star hunting this summer.

One of their star targets Trae Young could become available after the Atlanta Hawks won the lottery. With the No. 1 pick, the Hawks could pivot and rebuild which would pave the way for Young, who expressed his desire to win, to become the next star on the market.

This is where Reaves and the Lakers could part ways.

Sporting News’ Stephen Noh proposed a trade, which included Reaves, that could land the Lakers their third star in Young.

Lakers receive: Trae Young

Hawks receive: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, this year’s No. 17 pick, 2029 1st round pick & 2031 1st round pick

“This is a steep price to pay for Young. The inclusion of Reaves in particular would sting. The Lakers could try to include Jarred Vanderbilt in his place, but they may be outbid in that scenario,” Noh wrote.

But Young would be in demand if he becomes available and could force the Lakers’ hands to let Reaves go.