Starting shooting guard Austin Reaves put up his greatest effort of the game during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-101 series-clinching triumph against the Golden State Warriors.
The 6’5″ swingman, who signed with the Lakers as an undrafted free agency out of the University of Oklahoma in 2021, scored 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field (4-of-5 from deep) and 5-of-5 shooting from the charity line, while also dishing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds.
The Orange County Register’s Mirjam Swanson is more certain than ever that the Los Angeles Lakers must re-sign the second-year wing, who will be a restricted free agency this summer.
As Swanson points out, Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka led the club from a 13th seed in January to a Western Conference Finals appearance in May, demonstrating a good eye for team development. Having said that, Swanson is more confident than ever that Reaves should be a Laker next year and for many years to come.
Because of his limited free agency, Los Angeles will be entitled to match any offer made to Reaves this year. Another team can only give him $11.4 million in his first season, but LA can pay him up to $11.9 million.
Because of the Arenas Rule, competing teams with salary room may still give Reaves up to a maximum contract for $36-38 million in the last two seasons of a four-year agreement. Though Swanson is sceptical that a team would go that far, she expects a rival team will overpay for Reaves this summer.
Reaves averaged only nine points on 32.1% shooting from the field in the first three games of this Warriors series before fine-tuning his offence to score 19.7 points on 48.7% shooting in the following three games. His defence against Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Splash Brothers, was also impressive.
Swanson believes that Reaves’ extremely excellent two-way performance with Los Angeles (he’s arguably the team’s third-best player presently, in my opinion) will make him an enticing prospect to a lot of teams with a lot of money this summer.