Lakers Officially Re-Sign Austin Reaves To Four-Year Contract
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers announced they have signed guard Austin Reaves to a new four-year early bird maximum contract that is reported to be worth $56 million.

Reaves blossomed into arguably the team’s third best player down the stretch of the 2022-23 season and into the playoffs. The restricted free agent was rewarded handsomely for the growth that he showed and is now one of the Lakers’ core players for the foreseeable future.

For the season, Reaves averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from 3-point range. But it was after the trade deadline when the Lakers remade the roster, opening up more opportunities for Reaves, where he really shined.

In 23 games after the All-Star break, Reaves’ numbers jumped up to 17.6 points and 5.5 assists on 57.8% shooting from the field and 44.3% from deep. What really impressed was his ability to regularly draw fouls, oftentimes finishing through the contact. Over that same timeframe, he averaged more than six free throw attempts per game, an extremely good rate and he played so well that Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was forced to insert him in the starting lineup.

Some wondered whether he could continue his run in the postseason, but he quickly silenced any doubters when he scored 14 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ Game 1 win on the road in Memphis over the Grizzlies. This continued throughout the Lakers postseason run as he averaged 21.3 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 56% from 3-point range in the Western Conference Finals.

Reaves was undrafted out of Oklahoma in 2021 despite being a First Team All-Big 12 selection as a senior. The Lakers originally signed him to a two-way contract, but he impressed so much in Summer League and offseason team workouts that the team converted his deal into a standard NBA contract prior to the season.

Injuries forced him into early rotation minutes, but he proved to be ready for the challenge, immediately garnering the trust of the coaching staff and his teammates. Now he will look to continue to push the Lakers to their 18th NBA Championship.

Lakers plan for Austin Reaves to run more offense next season

One of the biggest areas of growth for Reaves was his ability to be a primary creator on offense. His ability to operate in the pick-and-roll and create shots for himself and his teammates was excellent and some feel the Lakers didn’t use this enough in the playoffs.

But it looks as if that is something that will change next season as the coaching staff reportedly plans on him running more of the offense. The ability of himself, LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell to all operate both on and off the ball has the potential to make the Lakers’ offense even more dynamic.

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