Report: Lakers have big plans for Austin Reaves on offense this season

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Now that Austin Reaves is on his way back to the Los Angeles Lakers with a four-year contract, the team reportedly has some big plans for him.

“The Lakers plan on running more of their offense through Reaves next season, unlocking the point guard skills he’s flashed through his first two years in the league, according to team sources not authorized to speak publicly,” wrote Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Reaves emerged as arguably the Lakers’ third-best player last season, particularly late in the campaign during the team’s push for a postseason bid.

The 25-year-old averaged 17.4 points and 5.7 assists per game in March and 20.0 points and 5.4 assists per game in April. He then went on to average 16.9 points and 4.6 assists per game in the playoffs, helping the Lakers make an unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals.

Now, the Lakers are bringing back D’Angelo Russell and adding Gabe Vincent, so with Reaves back on board and LeBron James able to command a ball-handling role at times, the offense has a wealth of options in the backcourt. Los Angeles did lose free agent guard Dennis Schroder, who agreed to sign with the Toronto Raptors this week, and could move on from Malik Beasley, who is drawing interest from several contenders.

Reaves’ new deal can reach as high as $56 million, a reasonable price point considering that the Lakers feared he’d get offer sheets from other teams as high as $100 million. He will be entering his third NBA season in the 2023-24 campaign and is just the kind of emerging young player that contenders often need.

Last season, he almost doubled his per-game averages in scoring and assists compared to those of his rookie campaign. In addition, in 25 games as a senior at the University of Oklahoma, he showed off a well-rounded skill set by recording 23 games of double-digit scoring and 14 games with at least four assists.

The Lakers this offseason also have managed to keep Rui Hachimura while adding Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes. Those moves are pleasing James, who took the time to post pictures of his teammates to social media.

The plan for Reaves also might draw approval from the 38-year-old superstar, who could see the benefits of sharing some of the offensive load during his 21st NBA season. With the additional presence of Anthony Davis, the Lakers are poised to make another run at a championship this coming season.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.