Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reaves is expected to get hefty offers once he hits free agency in the summer. Getty Images | Harry How


  • Austin Reaves is aware of the jump in salary that awaits him in the summer
  • The Lakers need to handle the Reaves situation differently and learn from the Alex Caruso disaster
  • The Lakers will have all the options available on how to retain Reaves after this NBA season

The Los Angeles Lakers have somewhat turned things around, although there is still work to be done as the NBA regular season winds down.

While it is apparent that the new influx of talent has helped the erratic campaign of the purple and gold in the 2022-23 NBA season, there are old hands who have stepped up their game.

One of them is Austin Reaves, the undrafted player from 2021 who has been churning out impressive performances as of late.

The efforts of the 24-year-old shooting guard are one of the reasons why the Lakers are now about .500. His rise has been likened to that of a former Lakers player, Alex Caruso.

The former Oklahoma Sooner will be heading into similar territory as Caruso this summer. He is set to be a restricted free agent, and there is no telling how the Lakers will handle his contract situation, CBS Sports reported.

One thing is for sure: Reaves will be due a hefty raise once his current contract runs out. With the performances he has turned in, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is expected to attract plenty of interest.

Reaves recently spoke with Evan Turner on "The Point Forward" podcast and weighed in on his impending free agency.

"I would like to be here, but it is the NBA though, it is a business," Reaves stated. "Anybody that says we do not play the game for money to me is lying. I feel like if you were not getting paid, I do not know if you would be here doing it. Obviously, everybody loves the game, but I want to make as much money as I can and be successful no matter where it is at."

The Lakers hold the Early Bird rights on Reaves, meaning Los Angeles can only offer roughly the non-taxpayer mid-level exception as a free agent this offseason. But the problem there is if other teams offer him more money.

Regardless, the Lakers can still choose to match whatever offer comes Reaves' way. But the question is: up to what amount will the purple and gold be willing to shell out?

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to handle Reaves' situation differently after learning their lesson when they let Caruso walk – unless the amount tendered is so ridiculous and something that would force them to pass up another potential rising star.

Alex Caruso
The Lakers need to be careful on the Austin Reaves situation, learn its lesson from the Alex Caruso debacle. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images