Austin Reaves not only was part of a key transaction during this NBA offseason, but the Los Angeles Lakers guard also kept his eye on other movement around the league, specifically Chris Paul surprisingly winding up with the Golden State Warriors.
“Yeah, that was random,” Reaves said. “… Me and my brother had kid camp back home, basketball camp, and one of the coaches that was there, he ran across the gym and told me. And I was like, ‘You’re probably looking at the wrong.’ I think there’s like Buttcrack Sports or something that always puts out false stuff — but he was like, ‘No.’ So, I don’t know, that one’s, that was strange.'”
Reaves agreed to re-sign with the Lakers, while Paul was acquired by the rival Warriors in a trade that sent Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards. Paul earlier in the offseason was traded to Washington by the Phoenix Suns in the package for Bradley Beal.
The 25-year-old Reaves now knows that he will face a different kind of test from the Warriors, who were eliminated by the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season. Paul might be used off the bench by Golden State, but one report said the 12-time All-Star is holding out hope that he will be a starter.
Reaves said he believes Paul and Warriors superstar Stephen Curry will be able to play together successfully.
“I think they can figure it out ’cause I think they’re both two very unselfish guys that really just wanna win,” Reaves said.
The trade of Paul to Golden State was unexpected not only for its timing, but also for the fact that Paul had been such a heated rival of the Warriors during his 18-season NBA career, specifically when he was with the Houston Rockets. He recently mentioned his Rockets team of the 2017-18 season, which was denied a trip to the NBA Finals by the Warriors, as possibly being the best he’s ever played on.
Reaves also was a key part of the Lakers’ offseason plans, which were designed to keep them among the title contenders after being swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
Los Angeles re-signed D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura and added Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes, while James confirmed he will indeed return for a 21st NBA season after contemplating retirement.
Paul now will have to try again to win his first NBA title with Reaves, James and the rest of the Lakers possibly standing in his way.