Los Angeles Lakers fans have been closely watching the 2023 FIBA World Cup as Austin Reaves is on the team and has been playing very well. Reaves’ performance on this international stage is only hammering home the point that the Lakers have a true gem on their hands.
That has not been the only reason why fans have been paying close attention, though. Lakers fans have also been paying close attention to Reaves’ teammates and the players that he is forming a close bond with.
There is a belief that Reaves will be able to recruit some of his Team USA teammates to the Lakers in the future. Heck, fans are treating it like it is already a done deal. Sure, it could help the Lakers if Reaves is talking about how great it is to play in LA, but nothing is guaranteed.
As much fun as it is to play along with the dream of Tyrese Haliburton or Mikal Bridges coming to LA, the fact of the matter is that neither player is all that feasible.
Why Austin Reaves isn’t going to recruit any USA teammates to the Lakers:
First let’s touch on Haliburton, as him coming to Los Angeles is exceptionally unlikely. Haliburton just signed a five-year contract extension with the Indiana Pacers. At the earliest, if he has a player option, Haliburton can be a free agent in the summer of 2028. If there isn’t a player option then he won’t be a free agent until the summer of 2029.
Reaves’ contract ends in the summer of 2027. There is a very real chance that he might not even be on the Lakers anymore. And if he is, the summer of 2023 is going to be a distant memory to Haliburton all the way in 2029.
Sure, there is the chance that Haliburton forces a trade but what assets do the Lakers have to trade for him? The team doesn’t have the means to make that trade, so fans shouldn’t be dreaming about a Reaves-Haliburton pairing in Los Angeles.
Bridges is a bit more likely as he is a free agent in the summer of 2026 but even then, it most likely won’t happen. Bridges will already be 30 years old when is a free agent and there is no guarantee that he even hit the market as the Nets may look to extend him before that happens.
Is Bridges really the type of star the Lakers are going to hitch their wagon to? Jayson Tatum can be a free agent the summer before and he will only be 27. Giannis Antetokounmpo can be a free agent that same summer and is far better than Bridges. LA is much more likely to go that route.
The most ironic part about all this is the fact that fans are only thinking about one side of the equation. Instead of Reaves recruiting these guys to LA, what if they end up recruiting Reaves to leave the Lakers?
Sure, Reaves seems to love it in LA, but it is just as likely that Bridges signs an extension and talks Reaves into coming to Brooklyn once his contract expires.