Austin Reaves is only in his third season in the NBA and he is already a massive fan favorite on the Los Angeles Lakers. Reaves' rise from being an undrafted rookie to playing a prominent role on a title contender (as well as Team USA in the FIBA World Cup) has been a scene straight out of a sports movie.
Reaves' rapid ascension to an important role player earned him a four-year, $53 million contract in the 2023 offseason. That may seem like a lot for a player who just went undrafted two years prior but that was actually much less than fans thought he would sign for.
Reaves has struggled a tad in the 2023-24 season after his new deal but fans still have not lost faith. Some NBA pundits, however, are already dreaming up possible trade ideas for the undrafted standout. On the latest episode of 'The Bill Simmons Podcast', the titular host suggested an unorthodox Reaves trade that would likely send the fanbase into a riot.
"In the next couple of weeks you could conceivably make a Draymond Green for Austin Reaves trade. The Lakers — let's say they're around .500 — (do) they talk themselves into that? Does Golden State have to throw in, maybe, (Moses) Moody to make that work? Do (the Lakers) have to add other contracts? I just like the trade. I'm not saying it's going to happen, I'm not reporting it. I just like the theory. In theory, I don't think Golden State needs Draymond I think they should trade him."
Simmons isn't saying that this is going to happen and hopefully this kind of trade never leaves his imagination. It is rare in the NBA today to think of a trade that would simultaneously upset two fanbases for different reasons but alas, this Draymond for Reaves trade does just that.
Simmons alluded to Moody being in the deal. If we follow those parameters, because of the contracts that are involved, this it what a trade would theoretically look like:
The only way to make the money work would be to attach another mid-tier contract with Reaves and there is no way the Lakers would trade Rui Hachimura or D'Angelo Russell alongside Reaves. Thus, the Lakers would have to try and offload Gabe Vincent's three-year deal. Vincent already looks like a bad signing as he will be out another 6-8 weeks, so getting off that deal would be increased value for LA.
This Draymond Green-Austin Reaves trade is awful for the Lakers
That still would not be enough for the Lakers to say yes, though. Draymond Green is a future Hall of Famer and he has undoubtedly been a very important member of several championship teams; but he is past his prime, is expensive, is uncontrollable with his in-game antics, and doesn't fit this Lakers team at all.
The last thing the Lakers need is another defensive forward who isn't a threat on offense. They already have that in Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Taurean Prince. Draymond is obviously a better version of those players, but with the current roster make up Reaves is far more important than Green would be.
Plus, Reaves is young and is only going to get better as his contract progresses. Green turns 34 in March and is only going to get worse as his contract progresses. It doesn't matter if Draymond is LeBron James' friend. This trade would be malpractice.
Warriors fans would be outraged that one of "their guys" got traded while Lakers fans would be outraged that their team got worse in the whole ordeal. This is a bad trade for all parties involved and hopefully, neither team gets any cute ideas.