Austin Reaves Always Wanted To Be With Lakers But Considered Rockets & Spurs In Free Agency
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers’ No. 1 priority was re-signing restricted free agent Austin Reaves.

Reaves broke out in his second year and took a leap in the playoffs where he emerged as the team’s third-best player behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Between his scoring, outside shooting, defense and overall play, Reaves looked the part of a cornerstone for Los Angeles going forward. The 25-year-old proved he belonged on the brightest stages and set himself up for a massive pay day.

While teams were able to offer more to the undrafted guard in free agency, Reaves ultimately re-signed with the Lakers on a four-year, $56 million contract. On paper, Reaves’s deal looks like one of the best ones in the league and L.A. will have the benefit of having him on the roster for the foreseeable future.

In an appearance on ‘ALL THE SMOKE’ with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Reaves reiterated that his preference was to stay with Los Angeles:

“I really wanted to be in LA the whole time. There were a couple situations that were close, but like I said I really wanted to be in LA. LA feels like home to me so that’s really where I wanted to be.”

When asked what the other situations he was considering were, Reaves named two of the Texas teams:

“Houston, before Fred [VanVleet signed there] and then San Antonio.”

Both the Rockets and Spurs had plenty of cap space to make an aggressive offer to Reaves, though they ended up using that money elsewhere. Houston splurged on Fred VanVleet’s three-year, $130 million deal while San Antonio used their space to take on contracts and make other signings. Either franchise could’ve tried to tie up the Lakers’ future cap space by offering Reaves a deal close to $100 million, but perhaps they decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Either way, the purple and gold scored a massive win by retaining one of their core pieces and look even better positioned to compete for a title next season.

Grant Hill praises Austin Reaves’s toughness and basketball IQ

Reaves managed to parlay his incredible sophomore season into an invite on the Team USA roster for the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup. Team USA features plenty of young stars on the roster, meaning Reaves will get an opportunity to play alongside some of the best in the league.

From afar, Grant Hill has been watching and evaluating Reaves and recently praised his toughness and basketball IQ.

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