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This Elite Lakers Role Player Could Make Big Money In 2024

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

It is a rare occurrence for a role player on any NBA team to blossom into an expensive asset. The Los Angeles Lakers have been blessed with the overall production from Austin Reaves. Undrafted out of Oklahoma, Reaves finished the regular season averaging 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. Reaves is also averaging 16.4 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in the playoffs this season.


Reaves has proven to be a key role player and piece of this Lakers team and could command a big contract in the summer. With rumors of a $50 million deal awaiting him, will he stay in LA or could he sign elsewhere for more money? Let’s discuss this.


Reaves Becomes Key Role Player For The Pacers

Let’s start with a more outlandish destination for Mr. Reaves. The Indiana Pacers are in a weird spot as a franchise. They have solid pieces like Myles Turner, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield but cannot find a way to be competitive. The Pacers finished the 2023 season with a 35-47 record overall and are now 60-104 under Rick Carlisle. So who can help?


Austin Reaves might not become their best player but if they want a guard who can spread the floor and provide a spark off the bench or even start at some point, Reaves can do it. Reaves is shooting around 40 percent from three-point range and 53 percent from the field overall in his short career. He is an efficient shooter who can also handle the rock and run the fastbreak well.


If Indiana has the money to make the Lakers life uneasy and steal Reaves, they should do it. Bring in someone who has shown he can produce and help win games in only his second season in the league. Reaves might not get a Gilbert Arenas type deal but a deal in the $17 million per season range could entice him to leave LA and become a high-paid role player elsewhere.


San Antonio Spurs Make Things Interesting

The Spurs just won the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes after getting the number one overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. Will the Spurs be done there? I think the Spurs can make a splash in free agency and bring in Reaves. I mentioned above a deal in the $17 million range, that is the Bogdan Bogdanović price range. The Spurs need good role players to make the team complete and Reaves fits here well.


Bring him in to be a perimeter scorer but occassionally throw lobs to Wembanyama. San Antonio could at least throw an offer sheet at Reaves and at worst, they dont get him and force the Lakers’ hand to pay him more next season and in the future. Reaves will have or prove himself under a tenured coach like Greg Popovich but I think he is up to the task.


Lakers Keep Their Star Role Player


Finally, we have the most realistic landing spot for Reaves in 2024 and that is back in LA. LA can realistically pay him a contract starting in the $11-12 million range for two to four years. That’s close to what others can offer via the mid-level exception, and Los Angeles has the right of first refusal.


However, teams with more cap room can offer him a max deal nearing the $98.7 million range for four years. Unless LA is willing to break the bank on Reaves for a deal that large, the Lakers will have to hope their best role player is willing to take their version of an extension versus leaving LA. Reaves has become a key piece in LA especially in this years playoff run. He is a reliable three-point guy and has a prominent role on both sides of the ball for LA and they cannot lose that.


Final Thoughts


The reality is that Reaves is not worth a $98 million deal yet. The $11-12 million per year range is a perfect amount for him because he has earned that type of contract. Re-signing him to this deal would show LA has confidence in him moving forward. Do not be surprised if Reaves is still wearing the Laker gold next season but moves out of the “role player” title.

 

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