We are long past the days of Austin Reaves’ coming out party. Two series into a playoff run in which he has been near the heart of for the Lakers has done more than enough to prove him as a valuable player. And along with that, long gone are the days questioning what Austin Reaves will get in free agency.
A lot is the objective answer.
The Lakers almost certainly will offer him the most they can at roughly four years and $50 million. It’ll be quite the surprise if that is all it takes to keep him in Los Angeles even if he has said he wants to stay in Southern California. More likely, his deal will be something closer to the four years and $94 million another team can offer him as a poison pill contract that the Lakers can still match.
No matter what the final total is, it’s a number that’s going to secure Reaves a payday so big that not even he believes it. In a recent piece by Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports, Reaves talked about his upcoming free agency and the bag he’s about to secure.
“I never thought that was realistic,” Reaves said, shaking his head and smiling. “Obviously, you want to be as good as you can be in the league. But that’s a lot of money.”
When asked how he plans on spending his first big paycheck, Reaves shrugged. He spent much of his life in a town with a population of fewer than 2,000 people, using his free time to hunt and fish.
“I don’t spend a lot of money,” he said. “I save it. So, that’s something I need to think of.”
It’s hard to imagine Reaves rocking up to Lakers games dressing like Kyle Kuzma in oversized sweaters next season, but he could if he wanted to! Reaves is going to get a ton of money this summer and could afford just about any outfit or car he desires.
And it’s a testament to what he’s done this postseason on top of the regular season. After looking worn down and ready to fade into the background at the beginning of the Warriors series, Reaves finished out strong to close out Golden State.
Over the final three games of the series, Reaves averaged 19.7 points, 5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 48.7% from the field and 58.8% from the 3-point line. He scored 21 points in the Game 4 victory, then 23 in the Game 6 closeout.
Realistically, he’s probably the Lakers third-best player this postseason, quite the feat for an undrafted second-year player. But there’s a growing mountain of evidence that consistently shows him as a reliable, talented player.
The Lakers found lightning in a bottle with Reaves and it’s going to take quite the contract to keep him, one that has been well-earned even in a very short time.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.