Austin Reaves has been a new sensation in the NBA after his unbelievable performances in the last season. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021. The Lakers signed him after he remained undrafted. Later he started playing for the 17-time champions coming off the bench every game. However, the Oklahoma Sooners kid impressed everybody with his high basketball IQ.
Gradually, he got his chance in the starting lineup. Moreover, in the 2022-23 season, Reaves became the third most essential player on the roster after LeBron James and Anthony Davis. What impressed the fans was his consistency throughout the regular season and continued to the playoffs. Austin Reaves got a four-year contract worth $56 million. It is great for the Lakers and the fans, but it does sound odd.
Teams Like The Spurs And Rockets Could Easily Offer Austin Reaves A Better Paycheck!
There were teams like Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs who had much bigger cap space and could easily offer Reaves a bigger paycheck. In fact, they could offer Austin Reaves double of what the Lakers did. However, as per Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, San Antonio Spurs was ready to offer Reaves $21 million per season. It is nearly double what the 17-time champions are paying the Oklahoma Sooners kid next year. However, Reaves was a restricted agent. Hence, the Los Angeles Lakers would match any offer any team would give AR. According to Scotto, that’s what scared San Antonio Spurs. They had to look for other options instead. Moreover, the Spurs got the overall number-one pick Victor Wembanyama.
That should make them a lot happy. Moreover, Houston Rockets wanted Austin Reaves as a backup if they would not get Fred VanVleet. But the All-Star point guard signed with the Rockets a three-year contract worth $130 million. Hence, it worked miracles for the Los Angeles Lakers. They did not have to fight with low cap space for Austin Reaves. Moreover, getting Reaves for just $56 million for four years enabled the Lakers to try and retain Hachimura and Russell for multi-year agreements. Then the LA side managed to acquire players to fill their secondary unit. They signed players like Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, and so on.
Lakers Saw Three Players As The Top Priorities In This Offseason
On the other hand, players like D’Angelo Russell were not as consistent as Austin Reaves in terms of their performances on the court. D’Lo Russell’s shooting got really worse going to the conference finals. There was a phase when the fans wanted the front office to trade him. But Rob Pelinka did not think that was the way to go. Hence, the Lakers retained Reaves, Russell, along with Rui Hachimura in the offseason during the free agency.
All these three players played crucial roles in helping the Los Angeles Lakers keep fighting to make the postseason even when Anthony Davis and LeBron James were not available. These three young talents helped them reach the Western Conference Finals. Hence, the Lakers GM retained them with multi-year contracts.