Austin Reaves has been having a whale of a season for the Los Angeles Lakers, as he has gone from a bench player with potential to a starter that other teams have to game plan for.
Germany has reportedly been recruiting him to participate in the FIBA World Cup, but Gordon Herbert, the coach of the German team, says he hasn’t heard from the undrafted wing despite trying to contact him.
“I contacted Austin by SMS and called him, but I did not receive an answer,” the coach explained.
Reaves showed promise last year as a rookie, as he quickly earned a spot in the Lakers’ regular rotation. But this season, his game has grown leaps and bounds beyond the level he played at last season.
He averaged 13.0 points a game in the regular season, almost doubling his scoring average from his rookie year, while dramatically improving his shooting accuracy to 52.9 percent overall and 39.8 percent from 3-point range.
He spent much of the season as a key member of L.A.’s bench, but he went on a tear once the All-Star break ended, and head coach Darvin Ham rewarded him by moving him into the starting lineup in late March.
In his first career playoff game about a week ago, he was impressive with 23 points and several baskets in crunch time as the Lakers pulled away for a 128-112 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Reaves will be a free agent this summer, and there is some concern the Lakers may not end up retaining him, as he could command a big offer from another team. In fact, an insider who covers the Utah Jazz thinks he is worth $99 million over four years.
Given how instrumental a player he has become, not to mention his popularity among Lakers fans, there will be lots of anger and frustration in the Southland should the team let him leave this offseason.