Austin Reaves is probably the most liked player on the Los Angeles Lakers right now. While his Jeremy Lin-like run has slowed down, he is still undoubtedly a valuable rotation player that is only going to continue to get better with more time in the NBA.
Lakers fans would be outraged if the team let Reaves walk this offseason, especially after LA allowed the same thing to happen with Alex Caruso. The situations were a bit different as Caruso was an unrestricted free agent but the Lakers still could have brought him back for a reasonable price.
Reaves is a restricted free agent and that makes his contract situation interesting. Another team can come in and offer Reaves a new deal with an inflated salary over the last two years, forcing the Lakers to either pay Reaves more than his market value in years three and four of the deal or simply let him walk.
Unless another team is doing it just to make the Lakers’ life harder, the chances of Reaves getting an absurd contract offer is slim. The Lakers should be able to bring Reaves back for a reasonable price that is still going to include them opening their checkbook.
If not, it will prove that ownership is more concerned with the bottom line and saving money than they are making the fans happy and winning basketball games. It would not be the first time they have disappointed fans.