Lakers Free Agent Rumors: Spurs Considered Dark Horse To Poach Austin Reaves
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency tends to lead to many difficult situations for teams. Especially teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, who have just four players under a guaranteed contract for the 2023-24 season. Everyone else, including breakout star Austin Reaves, has some type of decision associated with them.

But the decision surrounding Reaves should be one of the easiest for L.A. to make. The 25-year-old guard leaving his second NBA campaign figures to get a big pay bump, but due to the Gilbert Arenas provision, his first-year salary will be limited to that of that non-taxpayer mid-level exception.

He may receive a contract offer as high as close to $100 million over four years. The Lakers have the right to match any offer, but that type of cap hit — which would be nearing $40 million in Year 4 — could be hard to swallow. ‘

One team that may make that type of offer is the San Antonio Spurs, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic via HoopsHype:

I think the Lakers are going to retain him. Obviously, their preference would be to sign him to the four-year, $54 million deal. I’ve heard that there are going to be multiple suitors out there in talking with people around the league. You mentioned Orlando and Houston. I’ve heard San Antonio could be a dark horse team that will try to poach Austin from the Lakers.

The Spurs are going to be involved with nearly every free agent, as they are one of several teams below the salary floor. They have to spend a certain amount of money this offseason just to field a legal roster. For them, a four-year, $100 million offer would manifest as four separate $25 million cap hits, unlike how it would look for the Lakers.

But it seems that either way, the Lakers are reportedly ready to match any offer. Reaves was an integral part of the Lakers all season, and was instrumental to their success in the postseason in reaching the Western Conference Finals.

Not matching an offer and therefore letting him walk for nothing would be a catastrophic outcome in Reaves’ free agency, even if the dollar amount is close to $40 million in Year 4 of the deal.

Rob Pelinka and Darvin Ham already working towards next season

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham are not resting on the success of the end of last season. They are already looking ahead to 2023-24.

“I think for me it’s just again, it’s all about the work here,” Pelinka said. “I think none of us really get caught up in the accolades. I think we just stay focused on the work and if you stay focused on the work the results come. As Darvin and I were walking up to the stage in the back I said, ‘Campaign No. 2 starts today.’”

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