In a season filled with injuries, disappointment and inconsistent play, Austin Reaves has been a huge bright spot for the Los Angeles Lakers.
So far he is averaging 11.6 points per game on 51.1 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and he is doing it in just 28 minutes of action per game.
When he isn’t stunting on opponents on the court, Reaves has also shown a certain propensity for charming the ladies off it.
Understandably, fans want to see him in purple and gold for a long time to come.
But will that actually end up happening?
According to NBA insider Jovan Buha, the Lakers could have another Alex Caruso situation on their hands with Reaves, who will become a restricted free agent this summer.
“I think this is a similar situation to D-Lo in terms of mutual interest on both sides,” he said.
“But also, there are going to be multiple suitors for Reaves. He’s played everything from point guard to small forward. He can defend multiple positions and is a smart, high IQ basketball player. He was a 50-40-90 guy for the early part of the season. He’s an efficient player and someone that Darvin Ham has referred to as a Swiss Army knife this season. He can play on or off the ball.
“This is kind of lining up to potentially be another Alex Caruso situation where he wants to be there, and the Lakers want to retain him, but if they try to get a little too cute with the offer or negotiation, I could see him potentially leaving and going somewhere where he’s going to get the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception.”
L.A. famously botched the Caruso negotiations in epic fashion. The bad blood from that still lingers, and even opposing NBA head coaches mocked the Lakers for their handling of the situation.
Will history repeat itself with Reaves? Time will tell.
What a week for the Mayfield family. https://t.co/iX8D6T3sfF
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 18, 2023
At the moment, the 24-year-old is a huge fan favorite and developing role player. The Lakers’ refusal to include him any trade for Kyrie Irving was a good first step.
Until he actually signs the contract, though – nothing is certain.
Can the Lakers keep Reaves with the organization long-term? An answer one way or the other will emerge soon enough.
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