The Lakers dodged some bullets this summer by teams not putting a max offer sheet in front of Austin Reaves. As a result, the team saved north of $40 million with him signing the max contract the Lakers offered.
Both the Spurs and Rockets were the teams most expected to throw the roadblock in front of the Lakers this offseason but both balked. In fact, Reaves himself said both were teams he had looked at but neither sent an offer sheet his way.
On the latest HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto reported on what led to both the Spurs and Rockets opting not to pursue Reaves.
The Spurs considered offering Reaves a restricted free agency sheet worth $21 million per season, league sources told HoopsHype. Ultimately, however, the Spurs were scared off by the widespread belief that the Lakers would match any offer sheet for Reaves and chose to preserve cap space as a salary dump destination for future draft pick compensation. The Rockets were also closely monitoring Reaves’ situation because they were prepared to make a big offer sheet if Fred VanVleet didn’t sign with them, sources said.
Leading up to free agency, reports were that teams were going to be scared off of putting forth a contract for Reaves because of the Lakers' willingness to match every offer. That proved to be true, at least with the Spurs.
The Rockets, meanwhile, opted to spend $128 million over three years on Fred VanVleet instead of $98 million over four years on Reaves. Obviously, the calculation wasn’t quite the same there as, again, the Lakers would have matched the offer.
Ultimately, the Lakers got a fair amount of good fortune this summer. With only a few teams having cap room, the Lakers had things break their way and the end result was having one heck of a deal on Reaves’ contract.
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