Report: Lakers plan to match $100M offer sheets on Austin Reaves

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

The price tag to sign restricted free agent Austin Reaves seems to keep going up, but that reportedly won’t stop the Los Angeles Lakers from matching deals that could approach $100 million.

Reaves, who recently turned 25, established himself as one of the Lakers’ most important players when he followed an improved regular season with a standout performance in the postseason. He was their third-leading scorer in the playoffs, behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, at 16.9 points per game.

Reaves averaged a career high 13.0 points per game playing 64 games in his second NBA season. He can receive $50.8 million over four years if the Lakers use his Bird Rights, and as much as $98.6 million from another team.

“The Lakers are going to match any contract offer sheet that he signs up to that $100 million,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic said on a podcast. “The Lakers view him as the third-best player on this team if you look at the regular season and postseason he had. He stepped up big time and was basically an 18-5-5 guy with near 50-40-90 shooting splits as a starter for them. There were several factors as to why the Lakers made that second half run, but chief among them — and maybe the biggest factor overall — was Reaves’ ascension.”

Rui Hachimura is another restricted free agent the Lakers would like to keep. The forward also emerged late in the season after being acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards in January.

The Reaves situation is just one of many the Lakers will be dealing with this offseason and is far from the most important. After they were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets, James cryptically hinted that he could retire from the NBA. Though most people are skeptical James would actually follow through on that thought, if he were to do so, it would significantly change the Lakers’ path.

Los Angeles reportedly is interested in signing Minnesota Timberwolves big man Naz Reid, and Bobby Portis may be interested in reuniting with head coach Darvin Ham after he played for the Milwaukee Bucks when Ham was an assistant coach there.

There also has been speculation about a reunion of James and Kyrie Irving, but that is thought to be unlikely.

Among current players, the Lakers also must decide on what to do with D’Angelo Russell. About to become a free agent, the guard could have more value as part of a sign-and trade.

An offer sheet to Reaves could push him up the Lakers’ list of offseason priorities, so the interest he generates on the market is definitely worth monitoring.

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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.