Austin Reaves Believes Lakers Got Better While Retaining Core This Offseason
Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Lakers
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest keys to the offseason in the eyes of Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was to retain guard Austin Reaves. With Reaves coming into his own this past season, it was a no-brainer to keep the Arkansas native around.

While Reaves made it clear that he wanted to stay in Los Angeles, there were two other teams that he considered with cap space in the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. He would ultimately sign back with the Lakers, joining the likes of Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell as players to re-sign.

The key all along was to keep Reaves, Hachimura and Russell while getting better around the margins. The conversation around the league is that the Lakers won free agency or at least of one of the biggest winners. Reaves made an appearance on ‘All The Smoke’ podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson and voiced his pleasure with the Lakers’ offseason:

“Bring back basically our whole core that went to the Western Conference Finals and like you said, plug guys in, guys like Gabe [Vincent] that just went to the Finals, super competitor. But, like you said, I think we got better and at the same time kept what we had that was working. I’m super happy to get back to work and really have a full offseason, preseason to get some actual fluidity. Y’all [Barnes and Jackson] probably know this, once after the trade deadline you play with guys you ain’t played for, so you kinda freestyle. We were skilled enough last year to do that, but if you could mix that in with some fluidity with your offense, defense, it can be scary.”

At the trade deadline, the Lakers essentially put together a whole new roster with less than half of the season left. Luckily, it panned out and showed fans the possibility of this team with some minor tweaks around the edges.

Another proponent of keeping the team together was Russell, who said in some postgame interviews that if this team got a full offseason and training camp, the sky is the limit. Now with one or potentially two more signings left to be made, Reaves and Russell are going to get their wish.

With the Western Conference seemingly getting more and more competitive every year, the Lakers will have their hands full trying to make it to the NBA Finals next season, although they appear to be better positioned than ever to do so.

Austin Reaves says guarding Warriors’ Stephen Curry during playoffs was ‘hell’

After finishing his second season, Reaves got to experience what it was like guarding Stephen Curry on and off the ball with the Golden State Warriors motion offense. When asked about it, Reaves said it was ‘hell’.

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