No player who was slated to hit the restricted free agency pool this summer helped their case more with their play during the 2022-23 NBA season than Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves. After showing some flashes of being a reliable NBA player during his rookie year, Reaves’ second season in L.A. showed that he’s the perfect role player to put alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as the former undrafted free agent fit like a glove next to the Lakers’ two All-Stars due to his ability to shoot, his propensity to make the right play, and his understanding of when to pick and choose his spots.
It was expected that the Lakers would do everything in their power to keep Reaves around with the understanding that they could not use a player at his age with his understanding of how he fit in the team’s ecosystem. Fortunately for L.A., which was reportedly willing to match up to a $100 million offer sheet for Reaves, it was able to get the deal all sorted out at half the cost.
RFA Austin Reaves has agreed to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $56 million Early Bird maximum contract, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Agents Aaron Reilly and Reggie Berry of AMR Agency negotiated the new deal to keep Reaves in L.A. long term.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2023
After going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft out of the University of Oklahoma, Reaves carved out a spot as a starting-level guard in Los Angeles. While he started last season on the bench, Reaves was able to eventually secure a starting nod, which he was able to parlay into starting every game on the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals last postseason. On the year, Reaves averaged 13 points, 3.4 assists, and three rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from three.