Austin Reaves wants to be a Laker long-term, that much he outright said in his discussion this week with Shams Charania of The Athletic. Because he’s going to be a restricted free agent, it’ll be entirely up to the Lakers whether he’s with the team next season.
It’s a point that needs to be continually made, because any reports in the coming weeks and months about Reaves’ free agency should have that as the underlying takeaway. No matter how expensive he may become, it’s the Lakers call as to whether he stays with the franchise.
On Tuesday, following his sit-down conversation with Reaves, Charania discussed his takeaways and what the market could be like for him this summer.
“If it gets to that $60M-$70M range for Austin Reaves, that’s a tough contract for the Lakers to match… he wants to give the Lakers every opportunity to try to get a deal done”@ShamsCharania with his biggest takeaway from convo with Austin Reaves #RunItBack #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/x47DboyKGG— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) April 11, 2023
The Lakers are going to have many players to make decisions on this year. However, Reaves absolutely should be one of the top priorities, if not the top priority, in the offseason.
Considering the impact the new-look starting lineup with both D’Angelo Russell and Reaves has had, those two should like be some combination of 1A and 1B in terms of priorities this summer. If Reaves gets expensive, explore all avenues of cost-cutting in other ways, whether it’s via trade or waiving non-guaranteed deals.
Again, the Lakers don’t have to do any of this. It’s simply a matter of how much money they want to spend. Reaves is absolutely worth the money for the impact he makes on winning in so many ways.
Hopefully, the Lakers have learned their lessons with undervaluing Alex Caruso and don’t make a similar mistake here. Reaves is an important player, and there should be no tough decisions this summer when it comes to retaining him.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.