Things have finally started to click for the Los Angeles Lakers. After a rough start to the season, they made a ton of moves at the trade deadline in an attempt to improve the roster, and for the most part, it worked. They’ve performed a lot better since those moves were made.
On Sunday night, they took down the Houston Rockets, with Austin Reaves putting up monster numbers and leading the way. His performance was quickly followed by a report for Shams Charania of The Athletic indicating that the impending free agent could demand at least a four-year, $50 million contract on the open market in free agency.
“The maximum that the Lakers can offer him is four years and $50 million due to his restricted free agency status. That’s increasingly looking like his marketplace, at least,” Charania said via FanDuel TV. “And so, when you think about other teams, they can go higher than that. They can give them a poison pill offer sheet, which Chandler [Parsons] knows a lot about. But the Lakers can match that because he is a restricted free agent. There has been some success over the years – Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin – when you think about poison pill contracts. So, there’s going to be a significant market.”
As noted by Charania, Reaves will be a restricted free agent over the summer. So, while the Lakers can only offer him four years, $50 million, they can match any offer that another team gives him in free agency.
All of the discussion about Reaves’ upcoming contract negotiations follow his career night against the Rockets on Sunday. The Lakers guard dropped a career-high 36 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists. He shot 9-of-14 from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the three-point line. Reaves also lived at the free-throw line, shooting 16-of-18 from the stripe.
Darvin Ham Shows Love to Austin Reaves
“I thought it was him being his normal self,” Ham said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “What he’s been all year. Coming up in clutch moments for us. Trying to make plays downhill. Putting the defense in uncomfortable positions with his ability to attack the paint and draw fouls. So, he was great. He ended up with 36 [and] we needed all of them tonight. His aggressiveness reflects in his free-throw attempts. But that’s been Austin all year. He’s a hell of a player. Happy he’s on our team, and we damn sure needed him tonight.”
Austin Reaves Sends Message to Lakers Fans
Meanwhile, Reaves, who received MVP chants from LA fans during the contest, showed love to Lakers Nation after his big-time performance.
“Yeah, it’s special,” Reaves said of the love Lakers fans showed him via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “I play the game with the type of mindset to go leave it on the court every night. For them to appreciate what I do that much means a lot to me. So, shout out to Lakers Nation. It’s all love.”