The biggest storyline surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason is Austin Reaves’ future. Los Angeles officially extended a qualifying offer to Reaves, making him a restricted free agent with one of the most robust and polarizing markets in the sport.
The Lakers can sign Reaves to a deal just over $50 million as they are capped in what they can sign him to. Other teams can sign Reaves all the way up to $101 million with the Lakers having the ability to match.
If Los Angeles matches, Reaves’ salary hit will be in the teens in years one and two and will balloon near $30 million in years three and four. If the Lakers don’t match, the team signing Reaves gets to smooth his cap hit to around $25 million. Even if a team isn’t totally serious about Reaves, they can throw a wrench in the Lakers’ plans.
This is one of the most unique free-agent situations in recent NBA history, especially after Reaves stole the show in the NBA Playoffs. Not everyone is buying into the Reaves’ hype, though, as Colin Cowherd had to enter the conversation with the worst take of the summer.
For those wondering at home, here is exactly what Cowherd said in his Reaves-McClung comparison:
"“The Lakers are going to create potential cap issues for Austin Reaves. This guy (hidden at the time) averages less, but basically is the same player. One bucket less per game. And this player is Mac McClung, who can jump really high.”"
Colin Cowherd obviously knows nothing about the Lakers, Austin Reaves, or Mac McClung
Comparing Reaves to McClung is a very… interesting decision. It is probably motivated by factors outside of basketball performance, because the basketball performance reasons make absolutely no sense. Sure, it looks fun when you put it on a graphic like this but comparing the last two years for these two players is asinine.
Let’s play a game of ‘Price is Right’! Guess how many NBA games McClung has under his belt that warranted this comparison. If your answer is more than four then sorry, you are not going to get to compete in the showcase showdown.
Cowherd legitimately compared a player with four NBA games to someone who has blossomed into a starter on a team that just went to the Western Conference Finals. A player who averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.3% from three when the lights were the brightest.
McClung’s team was also in the NBA Playoffs this past season! Guess how many minutes he played. If your answer was more than zero then sorry, you once again lose at the podium.
It is also ironic how Cowherd and his team had to include stats from the last two seasons that include Reaves’ rookie year when he was fighting for minutes. This completely discredits the leap he took in year two as well as the fact that he averaged over 15 a game when he was a starter.
This is just irresponsible, reaction-inducing, click-gathering, uneducated entertainment that is being spun as a fact that is completely discrediting what Reaves has done for the Lakers. This is also incredibly disrespectful to McClung and his game. Cowherd’s only “analysis” is saying that McClung can jump really high. If it wasn’t for the Slam Dunk Contest, Cowherd wouldn’t even know that McClung existed.
Want to have a conversation about how much Reaves is worth? Fine. That is fair. Discrediting him and what he earned only to make a lazy comparison that is obviously based on their physical attributes and not their play? That is unfair.