5 Unpopular trades the Lakers should explore this summer

The Lakers should take a hard look at these trades in the offseason.

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Austin Reaves
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Austin Reaves / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Deal Austin Reaves for a star

The Lakers found a gem when they signed Reaves as an undrafted free agent in 2021. The 6’5 wing has blossomed into a strong scorer, shooter, and playmaker in LA. He was a restricted free agent in the 2023 offseason, and the Arenas Provision allowed LA to get him at a massive discount. Reaves is a starter and key contributor making around the non-taxpayer mid-level exception for the next four years.

The 25-year-old continues to improve, but cannot be the Lakers’ third-best player if they want to win a championship. He struggles on defense and has just last season’s run to the conference finals as his playoff experience. Teams will hunt Reaves in the postseason, and the Lakers cannot afford to have him get played off the floor.

He is close to untouchable in trade talks (subscription required) because of his bargain contract and strong production. The Lakers should rethink that mantra and start shopping him for a star return. Fans love Austin Reaves, but Los Angeles needs an upgrade to leap into the title picture.

There would be interest from every team if the Lakers put Austin Reaves on the market. Getting a 25-year-old on an affordable contract capable of being a starter and key contributor is not easy. It is precisely why LA should take advantage and trade him for a star.