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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Report: Lakers have big concern with Austin Reaves

Austin Reaves in warmups

Nov 6, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Austin Reaves (15) warms up prior to a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The undrafted Austin Reaves has had quite the glow-up this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that may not necessarily be a good thing for them come the summer.

Shams Charania of The Athletic said this week in an appearance on FanDuel TV that the Lakers are concerned about the size of the offers Reaves could receive from outside suitors in the offseason.

“The most the Lakers can offer [to Reaves] outright is four years and a bit over $50 million,” said Charania.

“There is a concern for sure if you’re the Lakers that he’s gonna get an offer sheet way, way higher than $50 million,” Charania adds.

The second-year swingman Reaves has emerged as one of the Lakers’ best all-around players behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With averages of 15.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game this postseason, Reaves can create his own shot in the halfcourt and connects on three-pointers at an excellent rate too (a shade under 40 percent for the year). Additionally, the 24-year-old is becoming one of the best in the game at getting to the free throw line and makes impact plays defensively too.

It is important to note that Reaves will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Lakers can match any outside offer for him. ESPN’s Bobby Marks also previously mentioned that the NBA’s “Arenas Rule” (named after ex-NBA star Gilbert Arenas) will help the Lakers keep Reaves, even though they are over the salary cap. That is because they own Reaves’ Early Bird rights.

But rival teams could still make it extremely costly for the Lakers to retain Reaves. Other prominent Lakers like D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder are set to become (unrestricted) free agents as well, so having to match a humongous offer sheet for Reaves would impact the team’s ability to retain their other players. Marks even notes the possibility that opponents could sign Reaves to a “poison pill” offer sheet, heavily backloading the third and fourth years to make a match that much more prohibitive for the Lakers.

All of this will play into Lakers’ cost calculus for the offseason. But at least for the rest of this playoff run, they can sit back and enjoy the show that Reaves has been putting on for them.

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