Lakers Free Agent Rumors: Austin Reaves A ‘High-Ranking Target’ For Rockets
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of decisions awaiting them this offseason. One of the most important — and simplest — is the restricted free agency of Austin Reaves, who has become an integral part of L.A.’s success after his second NBA campaign.

Reaves was the team’s leading scorer not named LeBron James or Anthony Davis during the postseason and was officially the team’s leading scorer during the regular season as James and Davis did not play enough games to be eligible for the scoring title.

But due to the fact that he was only given a two-year deal as an undrafted free agent last summer, he already enters restricted free agency. And while the Lakers can match any offer, Reaves is expected to be highly sought after.

One team — the Houston Rockets — are already being linked to Reaves, reportedly having him as a “high-ranking target,” according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic:

Former franchise player and current 76ers guard James Harden is the top target for Houston in free agency, according to league sources, representing the veteran leadership and elite point guard needed to establish structure and offensive cohesion. Outside of Harden, other high-ranking targets for Houston include Brook Lopez, Dillon Brooks and restricted free agents Cam Johnson and Austin Reaves, league sources said. They also said acquiring a veteran point guard is Houston’s primary objective, meaning even if a move for Harden didn’t materialize, names like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Donte DiVincenzo and even former Rockets player Chris Paul could be considered should they become available.

Reaves would be an excellent fit with the young core of the Rockets as another steady scorer and ball-handler alongside former No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green. But with James Harden remaining Houston’s reported top target, Reaves is unlikely to get an immediate offer sheet.

Either way, the Rockets are limited in the amount they can offer Reaves. Due to Gilbert Arenas Rule restrictions, teams are unable to offer Reaves more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception in Year 1 and Year 2. However, they can offer him as high as a max contract in Year 3 and Year 4 of that offer.

Rumors state that Reaves is likely to receive more than the four-year, $50-plus million that the Lakers can offer him outright. But the Lakers can still match any offer made by another team, even if it exceeds that $50-plus million figure.

Reaves says Lakers feel like home

Based on how Reaves spoke in his exit interview, he would certainly like to remain a member of the Lakers. He said that the team feels like home to him and that he is hopeful to re-join the team in restricted free agency.

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