Before entering free agency, Austin Reaves declares his desire to stay with the Lakers.

Before entering free agency, Austin Reaves declares his desire to stay with the Lakers.

Austin Reaves seems to want to stay in Los Angeles, and the Lakers will try to keep him in the city this summer via free agency.

After the Nuggets eliminated the Lakers from the Western Conference finals on Monday, Reaves told reporters on Tuesday that he wanted to stay with the team.

According to Reaves, “I want to be here,” as reported by Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. It has a familiar vibe.

Reaves, 24, is about to enter restricted free agency after recently finishing the last season of his two-year, $2.488 million contract with the Lakers. As a result, Los Angeles will still be able to match any offer sheet made for the player.

According to recent sources, the Lakers may be priced out of the Reaves recruiting process this summer. The highest offer Los Angeles could make to Reaves is a four-year, $50.1 million contract; but, NBA expert Marc Stein speculates that this would not be sufficient to fend off interest from other teams.

Reaves earned just $1.563 million this season and $925,000 in the 2021–22 season, but he is expected to command a high salary on the free market. Stein said there will “definitely” be a few clubs prepared to give more than what the Lakers can pay for Reaves, but that the market has not yet become evident.

Reaves recorded season averages of 13.0 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game in his breakthrough year as a second-year wing. After the All-Star break, Reaves played in 23 games on average 17.6 points and 5.5 assists, increasing his nightly minutes from 27.9 to 30.4.

During the Lakers’ playoffs run, the previously undrafted free agent started all 16 games and averaged 16.9 points while shooting an amazing 44.6% from beyond the arc.

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