The Los Angeles Lakers were able to keep Austin Reaves without having to match an expensive offer sheet, but the San Antonio Spurs reportedly were contemplating a contract for the guard worth $21 million per season.
“Lakers guard Austin Reaves recently told All The Smoke on Showtime that the [Houston] Rockets and Spurs were possibilities before he re-signed with the Lakers,” NBA insider Michael Scotto said. “The Spurs considered offering Reaves a restricted free agency sheet worth $21 million per season, league sources told HoopsHype. Ultimately, however, the Spurs were scared off by the widespread belief that the Lakers would match any offer sheet for Reaves and chose to preserve cap space as a salary dump destination for future draft pick compensation. The Rockets were also closely monitoring Reaves’ situation because they were prepared to make a big offer sheet if Fred VanVleet didn’t sign with them, sources said.”
Reaves re-signed with the Lakers on a four-year deal worth about $13.5 million annually. The Lakers reportedly were prepared to match any offer the 25-year-old received while on the market, so the end result likely was better than they were planning on.
“I really wanted to be in L.A. the whole time,” Reaves said recently. “There was a couple situations that were close, but like I said, I really wanted to be in L.A. L.A. feels like home to me, so that’s really where I wanted to be.”
Keeping Reaves was a top priority for the Lakers this offseason, and once free agency opened, they were able to check off almost all of their other boxes as well. They were able to re-sign Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell while also adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes.
In addition, LeBron James announced he will indeed return to play his 21st NBA season, and the Lakers reportedly are expected to reach a contract extension with Anthony Davis. So, the Lakers seem to have all their pieces in a comfortable place as they attempt to remain in contention for an NBA championship after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season.
Reaves’ status on the court started to rise as his play improved throughout the 2022-23 campaign and into the playoff run that ended with a sweep by the Denver Nuggets.
VanVleet, meanwhile, did indeed sign with the Rockets, getting a three-year contract worth $130 million. Houston also added Dillon Brooks on a four-year deal worth $86 million.
The Spurs have added several players this offseason, primarily via trade, including Reggie Bullock, Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens. Their biggest addition obviously was Victor Wembanyama, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
For Reaves, the thought of playing with Wembanyama at the start of the phenom’s career — plus the extra money he may have received in a new contract — had to have been enticing. But staying in a place he loves with a realistic chance at capturing an NBA title ultimately won out.