Los Angeles Lakers’ Austin Reaves expected to draw massive interest in NBA free agency

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves is one of the most underrated NBA free agents in 2023. While the Lakers want to re-sign him this summer, there will reportedly be significant competition for him on the open market.

Reaves, who went undrafted in 2021, is a free agent this season because of the structures of NBA contracts. Unlike first-round picks, the 6-foot-5 guard was only signed to a two-year contract that allowed him to test free agency earlier.

  • Austin Reaves contract: $1.563M salary (2022-’23), 2023 NBA free agent

Related: NBA reporter offers insight into Austin Reaves’ future with Lakers

The 24-year-old worked his way into the Lakers’ rotation as a rookie, eventually earning a larger role in his second season. After Los Angeles traded Russell Westbrook midway through the season, Reaves became its third-best player for the remainder of the year.

Re-signing Reaves is one of the organization’s top priorities this summer. It will also have an advantage because he’s a restricted free agent, meaning Los Angeles can match any offer he receives. When he hits the open market, Reaves is now expected to receive offers that will be difficult for the Lakers to match.

  • Austin Reaves playoff stats: 16.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.6 RPG, 45.9% FG, 44.2% 3PT, .138 WS/48

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Reaves is expected to draw “interest and potential offer sheets from several teams with cap space” this offseason.

As Buha notes, the maximum deal Los Angeles can offer to Reaves is a four-year deal worth $50.9 million. In comparison, other NBA teams are allowed to offer him a four-year deal worth up to $98.7 million.

Related: NBA teams expected to offer Austin Reaves more than Lakers can afford

While Reaves is unlikely to receive any multi-year deals with an average annual value approaching $20 million, multiple teams are reportedly prepared to go past the Lakers’ maximum offer.

Based on Reaves’ interest in staying in Los Angeles and the organization’s desire to avoid repeating what happened with Alex Caruso, the belief is that the Lakers will match any offer he receives this summer.

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