Amidst their desperate struggle for playoff survival, the Lakers have found a beacon of hope in the form of Austin Reaves, a 24-year-old who has risen to prominence in LeBron James’ absence.
This season, Reaves has been instrumental for the Lakers, dominating the court and keeping their playoff dreams alive. Unfortunately, his future with the team hangs in the balance as he enters restricted free agency this summer.
The unexpected savior of the Lakers has been sending tremors through the team’s fanbase with hints of a possible departure. Though the Lakers can match any offers he receives, Reaves’ loyalty will ultimately come down to how much they are willing to pay.
Why Austin Reaves might leave the Lakers?
Reaves has been open about his intentions to maximize his earnings, regardless of where he plays. During an appearance on the Point Forward podcast, he candidly stated, “Anybody that says we don’t play the game for money is lying. I want to make as much money as I can and be as successful as I can no matter where it’s at.”
Austin Reaves says he’d like to stay with the Lakers but the NBA is a business
“Anybody that says we don’t play the game for money is lying… I want to make as much money as I can and be as successful as I can no matter where it’s at.”
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) March 24, 2023
Given that Reaves could potentially earn over $100 million, it’s difficult to fault him for prioritizing financial success. For the Lakers, however, Reaves’ departure would be a crushing blow to their title aspirations in the coming seasons.
The Lakers now find themselves in a precarious situation, forced to decide if Reaves is worth the investment or if their resources are better allocated elsewhere. It’s clear that Reaves is seeking the best possible deal, and according to Jovan Buha, there will be numerous suitors vying for his talents. Drawing comparisons to the Alex Caruso situation, Buha highlights the risk that the Lakers could lose Reaves if they fail to present a competitive offer.
Despite the uncertainty, the Lakers’ success will still hinge on the performances of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Though this season has proven challenging, there’s still time for a turnaround. Reaves, along with other key role-players, has elevated the Lakers’ game, making it more crucial than ever to retain those who have stepped up in times of need.
It remains to be seen whether the Lakers will make the necessary moves to secure Reaves’ future with the team, but one thing is for certain: his potential departure has sent shockwaves through the Lakers community.