Report: Jeanie Buss refused to include Austin Reaves in any package for Kyrie Irving at trade deadline

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly wanted to keep Austin Reaves during the trade discussions for Kyrie Irving prior to this year’s trade deadline.

The Lakers ended up missing out on Irving, as he was dealt by the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks for a package centered around Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Los Angeles pivoted after the Irving deal was made, acquiring D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in a three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.

It makes sense that the Lakers didn’t want to move Reaves, as he’s been a solid young asset for the team. Reaves was great as a rookie, appearing in 61 games for the Lakers and making 19 starts. He’s held an even more important role for the team this season.

While an injury knocked Reaves out of the lineup earlier this season, he has still appeared in 52 games for Los Angeles, averaging 11.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3.

The efficiency has been a massive improvement for Reaves, after he shot 45.9 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from beyond the arc last season. He’ll become a restricted free agent this coming offseason, and it appears the Lakers want him to be a part of the long-term plans.

Even though Irving is an All-NBA caliber player, the Lakers opted for more depth at the trade deadline by not making a move for him. After seeing how the Russell Westbrook trade hurt the Lakers’ overall roster, it makes sense that the team didn’t want to move a promising young player for Irving, who is also set to become a free agent following the 2022-23 season.

As Reaves will be a restricted free agent this coming offseason, the Lakers can match any offer sheet he signs as long as they extend him a qualifying offer.

It’s been reported that the Lakers want to keep their current team intact next season, and Reaves certainly fits into that group with the role he’s played this season.

For now, the former Wichita State University and the University of Oklahoma product will look to help the Lakers make the playoffs this season.

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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.