The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly going to do everything in their power to keep Austin Reaves wearing purple and gold, but that’s not going to stop other teams from checking the temperature of the situation.
Teams like the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have already been linked to the rising star, and now, a Detroit Pistons insider is chiming in with an opinion that’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
“The expectation is that the Lakers will match any offer Reaves gets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit made a run at him,” wrote James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.
Reaves, 25, would fit Detroit’s timeline nicely.
“Reaves checks a lot of boxes the Pistons covet in a player and would smooth out some of the kinks on the roster as a 6-foot-5 perimeter player,” wrote Edwards.
As impressive as Reaves was during his rookie season, he took his game to another level during the 2022-23 campaign.
Overall, he 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 deep.
He also turned things up a notch down the stretch of the campaign. From the All-Star break through the end of the regular season, he averaged 17.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while maintaining an outrageous true shooting percentage of 73.4.
In the playoffs, he didn’t miss a beat, averaging 16.9 points per game while remaining efficient.
When it comes to Detroit potentially showing interest in Reaves, it’s worth noting that the 6-foot-5 pro had a chance to join the Pistons at the beginning of his NBA career. Instead, he turned down the chance to head to Detroit, giving Los Angeles priority.
He spoke about it almost two years ago.
“The night before, the Lakers had called and said if for some reason I go undrafted, that they wanted to be the first place that said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a two-way for you,'” Reaves recalled. “And so going into the draft, we knew that I was gonna have a two-way contract in L.A., so we were in a good place with contract stuff and things like that.
“So, going into the draft, we didn’t really press. I think Detroit called at like 41 or 42, whichever pick they had, and were like, ‘We’ll take him on a two-way,’ and it was really just more a situation where I wanted to be where we saw the best fit.”
It has become abundantly clear that the Lakers see Reaves as a big part of their future, so fans can expect the team to get aggressive this offseason when it comes to keeping him.
If the Arkansas native is back with the team next season, he’ll look to help the Lakers get over the hump after they lost in the 2023 Western Conference Finals to the Denver Nuggets.