Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves revealed that he and his camp tiered his potential landing spots before he joined the NBA.
Reaves was not drafted after his collegiate career where he played at the University of Oklahoma and Wichita State University.
Instead, he ended up signing with the Lakers, who were the No. 2 team on his overall list of potential landing spots.
— Lakers Empire (@LakersEmpire) July 20, 2023
“So, basically, we tiered teams — best fit for me,” Reaves said. “And L.A. was I think two on the list at the time — Milwaukee might have been one — but they were tier one.”
While it’s interesting to note that the Lakers weren’t the No. 1 team on the list, they were evidently high enough to get Reaves to pass on at least one other opportunity (with the Detroit Pistons) in favor of L.A.
Lakers fans have to be glad that Reaves chose to come to Los Angeles, as he’s quickly become one of the team’s better players.
Reaves’ path to the NBA wasn’t the most conventional one, but he’s clearly made the most of his opportunity, and it allowed him to cash in on a major payday this summer.
This offseason, Reaves was a restricted free agent, and he opted to stay with Los Angeles on a four-year, $56 million deal.
RFA Austin Reaves has agreed to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $56 million Early Bird maximum contract, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Agents Aaron Reilly and Reggie Berry of AMR Agency negotiated the new deal to keep Reaves in L.A. long term.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2023
In the 2022-23 season, the 25-year-old averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc. He was clearly one of Los Angeles’ best players, and he put together some strong performances in the playoffs as well.
During the Lakers’ run that ended in the Western Conference Finals, Reaves averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest across 16 appearances while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 44.3 percent from deep.
With Reaves, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others back for the 2023-24 season, the Lakers should find themselves in contention in the Western Conference again.
The team finished with just the No. 7 seed in the West in the 2022-23 season, but it upset multiple teams on its way to the Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles and Reaves are hoping for a stronger regular season, and finish, in the 2023-24 campaign.