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#pounditWednesday, November 29, 2023

Austin Reaves reveals the 1 team he almost ended up with instead of Lakers

Austin Reaves in a jersey

Apr 5, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Reaves has become a rock star in Los Angeles, but he very nearly ended up in a much less Hollywood location instead.

In an appearance this week on SHOWTIME’s “All The Smoke,” the Lakers swingman Reaves made an interesting revelation. Reaves said that he was almost drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2021 but turned it down to go undrafted and sign with the Lakers.

“[I] could have been drafted 42nd to Detroit,” said Reaves. “But [I] kinda declined that to put me in LA for a better spot.

“It was really trying to put me in a position to be able to get a roster spot,” Reaves continued. “We knew that there was a high interest for a two-way [contract], so we didn’t really have to press. That’s what everything in the draft would have been from [pick] 42 and on.”

You can watch the full clip below.

The ex-University of Oklahoma star Reaves would end up signing a two-way deal with the Lakers anyway as an undrafted free agent. But he impressed in Summer League and training camp, eventually getting his deal converted to a standard NBA contract before the start of his rookie season.

Now heading into his third year in the league, Reaves is one of the strongest all-around players on the Lakers’ roster and just scored a new four-year, $56 million Early Bird max contract to return to the team.

That was a real risk for Reaves to steer himself away from an opportunity with the rebuilding Pistons and bet that he could stand out on a Lakers team with much higher aspirations (not to mention a far brighter spotlight). But the gamble paid off quite nicely for Reaves, and now the Lakers have their sights set even higher for him.


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