The Los Angeles Lakers turned the season around from a 2-10 start into a 43-39 record and a trip to the NBA Play-In Tournament. While the new-look roster after the deadline was a big reason why the team turned things around, there is plenty of credit to be thrown Austin Reaves’ way.
The 2021 undrafted free agent has continued to blossom during his tenure with the Lakers. He was an exciting hidden gem prospect for the Lake Show in his rookie season and his game has only evolved as time as gone on.
Reaves is now one of the most important players on the team as they prepare for the play-in. The fan-favorite could really raise his value with a great showing on a national stage in the playoffs, which might actually be a concern for the team.
Reaves is a restricted free agent after this season with his future contract situation becoming a topic of serious conversation in LA. While the Lakers could theoretically lose him this offseason, Reaves has done a good job of quelling any concerns by making his intentions clear. He wants to stay in LA.
The ball is in the Lakers’ court regarding Austin Reaves future
Austin Reaves wants to stick around on the Los Angeles Lakers and every single fan that watches this basketball team wants him to stick around as well. This seems like such an easy decision that should not even take much thought for the Lake Show.
That being said, this is not the first time that this situation as been presented. There was a very similar situation with Alex Caruso two summers ago and we all know how that panned out. Los Angeles allowed Caruso to walk when he gave them every chance in the world to bring him back.
This situation is slightly different considering Reaves is a restricted free agent but that cannot be an excuse for the Lakers. The team has to pay him market value and if that means paying him the max that they have to pay him this offseason then so be it.
Just because Reaves wants to stay in LA does not mean he should sacrifice his career earnings to do so. Sure, if the Lakers can only offer slightly less than another team is offering then it is not absurd for Reaves to take a small pay cut to stay where he wants to play.
But that does not mean that the team should expect Reaves to take a huge hometown discount just because the multi-billion dollar sports franchise wants to save some extra bucks against the luxury tax. That is not fair to Reaves and if he is going to get paid elsewhere he has every right to leave.
Reaves has made his intentions clear and fans can rest easy knowing that he will do everything he can to return to LA. If he does leave, we all know where to place the blame.