Report: Austin Reaves expected to command more money than Alex Caruso in free agency

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves reportedly is expected to command more money than Alex Caruso did when he hit free agency prior to the 2021-22 season.

According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Reaves could be looking for a contract that pays him around $10 million or more per season.

“From what I’ve heard on that, it’s going to be more than Caruso money, that’s for sure,” Buha said. “It’s going to be double digits.”

Caruso, who left the Lakers following the 2020-21 season, signed a four-year deal with the Chicago Bulls that is worth more than $36 million in free agency.

The Lakers didn’t feel the need to pay Caruso that much to keep him, and that was one of the many questionable moves that the front office has made since the team won the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season.

Caruso is a much better defensive player than Reaves, but Reaves has been a great player on the offensive end, averaging 11.2 points per game this season. He’s one of the Lakers’ more efficient players right now, shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Reaves played collegiate ball at Wichita State University and the University of Oklahoma. He went undrafted, but the Lakers picked him up before the 2021-22 season. Reaves was great as a rookie, appearing in 61 games for the Lakers and making 19 starts.

He’s improved his game drastically this season, shooting much better from the field (45.9 percent last season) and from 3 (31.7 percent last season). With the Lakers losing Malik Monk in free agency, Reaves has handled a much bigger scoring role for the team this season.

The Lakers will be faced with a tough decision in the offseason if the market for Reaves is around $10 million or more per year. Obviously, Los Angeles could make an offer to retain him, as he will be a restricted free agent following the 2022-23 season.

The Lakers will also have some money to work with since Russell Westbrook’s contract comes off the books after this season.

With Los Angeles struggling to stay in the playoff picture right now in the West, the team may want to keep as many important role players, like Reaves, as possible in the offseason to truly build a championship contender around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.