Austin Reaves signing looks even better for Lakers after latest deal

The Lakers' deal with Austin Reaves just got a ton better after Grayson Allen's extension.
Los Angeles Lakers, Austin Reaves
Los Angeles Lakers, Austin Reaves / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers feared Austin Reaves would try to leave in free agency in the summer of 2023. He was restricted, and LA planned to match any offer. Still, it was scary when the Spurs lurked with the possibility of offering $100-plus million, which would feature massive salaries in years three and four. They had interest, but Reaves decided to re-sign with the purple and gold on a bargain deal.

The 25-year-old wing got a four-year $53.8 million contract. He has a player option in 2026 for $14.9 million and makes less than $14 million per season in each of his three guaranteed years. The signing was viewed as a massive win for the Lakers. It is not easy to secure a 6’5 wing, especially one with his potential.

It was already a bargain, but the contract looks even better after the Suns extended Grayson Allen on a four-year $70 million contract on the eve of the postseason. Phoenix had no choice. If he left in free agency, the Suns could only sign a replacement at the minimum, but the move makes the Lakers signing Reaves at a below-market rate even better.

Austin Reaves is a better player than Grayson Allen making less money

Neither is known for their defense, and Reaves has a more diverse offensive game. The Lakers wing averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.8 steals in 32.1 minutes per game this season. It was not the All-Star leap some hoped, but his ball-handling, playmaking, scoring, and floor spacing were crucial. Allen led the league in 3-point percentage as he averaged 13.5 points, 3.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 33.5 minutes per game.

Both contracts increase. Allen makes more money in year one of his new deal than Reaves makes in any season, including his player option. The Suns wing is the superior shooter, but that is where his advantages end. Phoenix needs floor spacers around Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Allen’s contract may turn into a bargain too, but it makes the Reaves signing look significantly better moving forward.

The Lakers desperately needed him to take less to keep their spending in order as they remain in contention. They are projected to be over the first tax apron next season and may offer LeBron a massive extension this summer.

D’Angelo Russell likely opts out to search for more money in free agency. Reaves taking less gives LA some flexibility, but D-Lo may walk if a massive offer comes in. The Lakers must replace him. LeBron only has a few years left at the top, and Los Angeles cannot afford to waste a second.

The salary cap is expected to rise next season and several teams have cap space. The Los Angeles Lakers contract with Austin Reaves will keep improving. The 25-year-old is still getting better, and the market is only rising for 6’5 wings with versatile skill sets. It was an absolute steal and one that should help the Lakes stay in contention for years to come.