Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves revealed which teams were on his radar this offseason in free agency before he ultimately re-signed with the squad.
“I really wanted to be in L.A. the whole time,” Reaves said. “There was a couple situations that were close, but like I said, I really wanted to be in L.A. L.A. feels like home to me, so that’s really where I wanted to be.”
Reaves ended up signing a four-year deal with the Lakers, but he could have potentially ended up elsewhere this offseason. He revealed that the Houston Rockets were in the mix (before they added Fred VanVleet), and so were the San Antonio Spurs.
“Houston, before Fred, and then San Antonio,” Reaves said of other potential landing spots.
The Rockets ended up signing VanVleet to a three-year deal worth $130 million.
Lakers fans certainly have to be glad that Reaves chose to stay in Los Angeles after the impact he had on the team in the 2022-23 season. Initially an undrafted free agent out of the University of Oklahoma and Wichita State University, Reaves became one of the Lakers’ top offensive options last season.
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 also had a strong showing in the playoffs, averaging 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest in 16 games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.
He came up big in several playoff games, including a 23-point performance in Game 6 of the second round against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers made a point of bringing back key players like Reaves from last season’s team that made the Western Conference Finals.
Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura all re-signed with the Lakers this offseason. Reaves received the longest deal of the three, as Hachimura (three years) and Russell (two years) signed shorter contracts.
Even if Reaves had signed an offer sheet with the Rockets or Spurs, the Lakers would have had the opportunity to match it since he was a restricted free agent. Given how important Reaves was to the team’s success last season, it’s likely Los Angeles would have been willing to do so.
Reaves and the Lakers should be amongst the best teams in the Western Conference in the 2023-24 season, especially if they stay healthy.