Los Angeles Lakers rising star Austin Reaves impressed a lot of teams in the NBA last season. He had been a revelation in 2022-23. There were so many teams, like San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets, eager to sign the Oklahoma Sooners kid. However, these teams later backed out because Reaves was a restricted free agent. Hence, the Lakers were willing to match any deal other teams would offer Reaves. Moreover, they could not let the Oklahoma Sooners kid go as he became such an integral part of the team.
On the other hand, San Antonio Spurs regained their status in the league after acquiring the number one overall pick of 2023, Victor Wemabanyama. Along with the number one NBA draft of the year, the addition of Austin Reaves would have been huge for the Spurs. As per The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the Spurs had two different plans as to how they wanted to acquire Austin Reaves.
What Were The Two Different Deals Spurs Were Willing To Offer Austin Reaves?
Either San Antonio Spurs would like to sign Reaves for the maximum deal of $100 million for four years, or they would sign him for a smaller deal of $60 million for three years. If they managed to sign him for the maximum deal, then Reaves would get 44 million dollars more than what he would get as a Laker. Moreover, the Lakers had luck on their side as the Spurs made it easy for them, not offering Reaves $100 million. If that had happened, the LA side might not have been able to acquire Gabe Vincent in free agency. The Lakers would go on to match the Spurs’ $100 million offer, and their cap space would close down even more.
Moreover, the Lakers would find it difficult even to retain Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell. But the Arenas rule helped the Lakers to retain Austin Reaves. This rule helps protect the teams with their restricted free agents. AR has a player option in his final year. The Spurs could offer him the maximum deal in the final two years of the contract. After all, they had immense space in free agency. San Antonio Spurs could pay Austin Reaves $12 million in the first two years and $75 million later in the final two years. It would have been so much more than what Reaves will get as a Laker for the next four years.
AR Is Happy Staying With Los Angeles Lakers
It was only his second season in the league. But Reaves became the third most important member of the Los Angeles Laker’s roster behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers sure hope to see Reaves stay part of the team for a long time in the future. In fact, Rob Pelinka and Co would hope that Reaves and Davis lead the side in the post-James era. However, after the outstanding rise to stardom, many teams with a bigger cap space wanted Austin Reaves on their roster.
But the Oklahoma Sooners kid was a Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan growing up. And perhaps that made it easier for the 17-time champions to retain him. However, it was a matter of concern for the Lakers. The confusion was that the kind of deal the LA side would have offered him wouldn’t be enough. Since there were other teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets. They could offer Reaves an even better deal. However, as it turns out, the Lakers re-signed Austin Reaves for a four-year contract worth $56 million. It is far less than what the Spurs, the Magic, and the Rockets were willing to offer.