The Los Angeles Lakers have made another key move in their offseason roster building by agreeing to a four-year, $56 million deal to retain swingman Austin Reaves. This contract extension comes after Reaves played a crucial role in the Lakers’ deep playoff run to the Western Conference Finals in 2023. Reaves emerged as the team’s third-highest scorer during the playoffs and showcased his versatility on both ends of the court.
Last season, Reaves exceeded expectations and proved himself as a valuable asset in the Lakers’ rotation. Despite being modestly recruited out of high school and taking a unique path to the pros through five years of college basketball, he quickly made an impact as a rookie on a two-way contract. Reaves’ ability to draw fouls, his fearless approach on defense, and his tenacity earned him recognition from his teammates and coaching staff.
With Reaves back in the mix, the Lakers are reportedly envisioning big plans for him in the upcoming season. His offensive contributions, particularly during the late stages of the previous campaign, were instrumental in the Lakers’ push for a playoff berth. Reaves averaged impressive numbers in scoring and assists, especially in March and April, and carried his strong performance into the playoffs.
The Lakers’ backcourt is now packed with options as they also brought back D’Angelo Russell and added Gabe Vincent to the roster. This depth, along with LeBron James’ playmaking abilities, gives the team numerous offensive strategies and combinations. However, the Lakers did lose guard Dennis Schroder to free agency and may part ways with Malik Beasley, who is attracting interest from other contenders.
Reaves’ new contract reflects the Lakers’ belief in his potential and the impact he can make in the coming years. While the deal could reach as high as $56 million, it is considered a reasonable price given Reaves’ performance and the fear that other teams would offer him significantly more. As the Lakers continue to make moves in the offseason, retaining Reaves and adding other talented players like Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jaxson Hayes, they are positioning themselves as strong contenders for another championship run alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The plan to rely on Reaves’ contributions and distribute the offensive load may be welcomed by LeBron James, who enters his 21st NBA season. With the supporting cast of talented players around him, including the newly acquired additions, the Lakers aim to contend for a championship in the upcoming season. The team’s offseason moves have generated excitement, as seen in James’ social media posts featuring his new teammates, and the Lakers’ fans have high expectations for the upcoming season.