According to recent reports, multiple teams have shown interest in signing Lakers guard Austin Reaves once he becomes a free agent toward the end of the season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are already looking at next year’s free agency to build up a strong lineup for the next season. The ongoing season ends in about 4-6 weeks, and the vicious circle of player swapping will begin shortly after. Furthermore, the Lakers are keen for this off-season as they look to overhaul the lineup considering their struggle over the past two seasons.
But before looking at free agents, the Lakers must prioritize retaining the top players. For instance, their young guard, Austin Reaves, is all set to hit free agency at the end of the season as his current contract expires. Reaves, who went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft, impressed all in his rookie season with the Lakers and earned a standard contract shortly after. However, as his two-year deal expires this year, uncertainty over his future looms over his head.
Rival Teams Rally Behind Austin Reaves as Lakers Plan On Retaining Him
The LA Lakers have had a challenging season, dealing with injuries to key players and struggling to find consistency on the court. However, the emergence of Austin Reaves as a valuable contributor off the bench has been a bright spot for the team. As they make a playoff push in the final stretch of the season, retaining Reaves could prove to be a critical move for the Lakers. However, the Lakers will have to fight a tough battle as rival teams have started to line up with a motive to acquire Reaves for the future.
Jovan Buha of The Athletics appeared on a podcast and spoke about Lakers’ team-related issues. Addressing the Austin Reaves situation, Jovan said that he heard whispers of potentially an extended contract being offered to Austin. Further, both Austin and the Lakers are in mutual agreement about this extension. However, the guard is the hot seller in the market, and rival teams are showing keen interest. Hence, he is likely to use it as leverage to increase his contract value.
Right now, the Lakers are ready to offer him $50 million for four years. But Buha suspects that Austin is worth around $12-15 million a year in the free agent market. Hence, the Lakers must empty their pockets to keep Reaves in the fold.
Lakers Unwilling To Pursue Kyrie Irving In Off-Season
Jovan Buha spoke extensively about Kyrie Irving’s potential reunion with his former teammate, LeBron James, in the Lakers. The trade deal that fell apart in February could finally go through in the off-season. However, Jovan believes otherwise. He said that according to his sources, the Lakers very much intend to keep the current lineup intact as it has produced desired results so far.
Hence, the front office is unwilling to go after Kyrie Irving in the upcoming off-season. He says, ” the Kyrie ship, I think, has sailed.” Irving created a lot of buzz during the trade window by signing an ultimatum to the Nets to find a trade deal just three days before the deadline. While the Lakers lobbied for him with the best possible offer, the stubbornness of the Nets owner led to the deal falling apart.