The Lakers have made it fairly clear through a number of reports that Austin Reaves is someone they value quite highly. And the more reports we read and hear, the more clear it becomes that he isn’t being moved for just anyone at the trade deadline, if he’s even dealt at all.
The Lakers are reportedly open to trading him, but it’s going to take a lot. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers don’t quite view Reaves as fully untouchable, but it’s going to have to be a very notable return for them to part ways with the young guard.
Reaves isn’t technically untouchable, but he’s close. The Lakers value him highly and have no interest in trading him, according to team and league sources. He’s on a cost-controlled, team-friendly deal for at least two more seasons. For the Lakers to consider moving Reaves, they’d need to receive either a clear-cut All-Star — someone better than Murray or LaVine, for example — or multiple rotation upgrades, according to those sources.
Reaves’ name has come up most often in reports about a Dejounte Murray trade. On one side, the Lakers have said they want more than just Murray back in a trade. The Hawks had initially said they want more than Reaves and Rui Hachimura back for Murray. Clearly, there was a gap there.
On the surface, considering Reaves nearly untouchable might be a surprise to some — likely most of them being non-Lakers fans — but there are reasons it makes sense. For one, and maybe most notably, Reaves’ deal is already a team-friendly one that, if everything goes accordingly, will only get better, not worse.
That kind of contract, paired with a player like Reaves, is immediately going to be a very valuable asset. Finding young, productive pieces is hard enough and the Lakers have one that is probably underpaid.
More than that, Reaves also has the backing of two very important members of the team in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Replacing that trust is with a new player is not something that happens right away...and maybe it never gets replaced.
These are all things that have to be weighed when considering dealing him. And for the Lakers, as they’re weighing those factors, the result is that he is nearly untouchable.
But it’s also Jan. 19 and this could be a negotiating ploy. Things might be different on Feb. 8. Nothing about recent reports, however, should probably make it feel likely that Reaves is here to stay.
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