Lakers News: Austin Reaves Grateful For Trust LeBron James Has In Him
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful first playoffs run, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves was set to cash in in free agency.

Reaves was reportedly pursued by teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets, but he wound up re-signing with the Lakers, which is where he always wanted to be.

The former undrafted guard now is expected to assume more responsibility during the upcoming 2023-24 season as he’s proven he can handle more on-ball work. Reaves’ rise will give LeBron James more opportunity to rest on possessions, which should keep him fresher in the postseason.

In an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Reaves discussed the trust that James has in him and when he knew he had really earned it:

“There was no real conversation like off the court or anything. I always knew from day one we connected on that IQ level just thinking the game differently than other people do. But the one that stood out to me, there was even one in the playoffs, it was Game 1 against Memphis when I really had it going for a quarter. I struggled the first half, I think I was 2-of-7 in the half from the field and then got it going in the fourth and I remember I got I think like two buckets in a row and someone, I think Bane might’ve shot a wing 3 on the right side and it come off and I don’t know if DLo got the rebound or Vando got the rebound but I was on the left side and I just went to run the floor. They outlet it to Bron, and this was right before I hit the 3 I think, and me going to run the floor I hear Bron yelling at me like, ‘AR come back!’ and he just tosses me the ball. And I’m like, ‘Oh, shit.‘ I have the greatest, in my opinion, the greatest player ever, I don’t want to say deferring to me in this moment, but like giving me the ball in this moment. Like, ‘OK, you got something going go do something.’ Cause he knows, me I don’t care if I score or if I have a play for someone else I just want to win.

“But when that happened, obviously in my brain there’s…it probably should’ve went somewhere else but the whole time I was just sitting there thinking like I gotta make something good happen. I don’t care if it’s a missed shot, whatever, we get a good shot, whatever, but something’s good got to happen. I can’t turn it over, can’t shoot a bad shot but I think I come down and hit the 3. And after that, same thing. Gave me the ball again and from that point forward I could tell that the trust level was even more than what I knew it was at that point.”

The Memphis Grizzlies series was Reaves’ coming out party and with James still dealing with a foot ailment, he had no problem letting the guard handle the crunch time scoring. It should say a lot that James was willing to let Reaves handle the ball so much in a high-pressure game and that should only make him that much better going forward.

Austin Reaves reveals where LeBron James’ annual minicamp was

Every year before training camp, James holds a players-only minicamp and Reaves revealed that the team met in San Diego and that everyone attended to build chemistry before the season.

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