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Austin Reaves says he wants to be a Laker for his whole career

After a breakout season with the Lakers and ahead of free agency, Austin Reaves said he hopes to remain a Laker not just for coming seasons but for the rest of his career.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard to believe it’s been not even two full seasons that Austin Reaves has blossomed from undrafted player to one of the most important Lakers on the team. His insertion into the starting lineup late in the season served as the final big jump for both the Lakers as a whole and Reaves individually.

And while there’s a whole postseason — ranging from two games to many more — awaiting the Lakers still, Reaves’ impending free agency has been a topic of discussion for as long as his breakout season has been underway. After watching Alex Caruso, the last diamond in the rough to come up with the Lakers, depart in free agency after the Lakers low-balled him, fans are cautious in how they approach free agency this year.

This situation is different and the feeling around it is different as well from both sides. On top of Jeanie Buss reportedly wanting to keep him around, Reaves himself grew up a Lakers fan and wants to be around.

Sitting down with Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday, Reaves discussed his free agency and the fact he hopes to remain a Laker for quite a long time.

“Yeah, I want to be a Laker. Obviously, they gave me the first opportunity. I was a huge Laker fan growing up, big Kobe fan. Honestly, just to be able to play for the Lakers organization is special and I want to be a Laker. Hopefully, we can get this done and I can stay there for, hopefully, my whole career.”

As has been previously noted, the ball is entirely in the Lakers court on this one. As a restricted free agent, the Lakers have control of whether he is on the team next season or not.

Ideally, the two parties would negotiate a deal that is fair for both sides. It would likely come in around the $50 million mark, based on reports, and would lock up Reaves for years to come.

Even if they’re unable to do that, Reaves is still a restricted free agent, and the Lakers can match any deal Reaves receives — bar none. If Reaves is not back next season, it’s because the Lakers did not want to pay up.

All reports seem to suggest the two sides are interested in making this a long-term partnership, though. And, certainly, Laker fans want Reaves to be around, hopefully for his whole career.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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