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After receiving a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Lakers, Austin Reaves has agreed to a long-term contract with the team.
Per Sham’s Charania by The Athletic and Stadium will pay Reaves’ new contract $56 million over four years.
Sham’s Charania @ShamsCharania
More details: Reaves’ new deal includes a year 4 player option, a 15 percent trade kick and the maximum allowable advance, according to sources. The Lakers have done everything possible to ensure Reaves stays in Los Angeles. https://t.co/dEkgGQAanw
As Reaves made his mark in the regular season and again in the playoffs, his future with the Lakers was uncertain.
The Lakers announced On Tuesday, they extended qualifying offers for both Reaves and Rui Hachimura, giving them the opportunity to fulfill any offer both players received in free agency, with the Lakers having early bird rights for the 25-year-old guard.
He originally joined the team in August 2021 as an undrafted free agent on a two-way contract.
Will be released on The Point Forward Podcast In March (starts at 34:30), Reaves raised the possibility of leaving Los Angeles for the off-season:
“I would like to be here. But it’s the NBA, it’s a business at the end of the day. Unfortunately I wasn’t talented enough to get into the league when I was 18 or 19 so I’ve got a couple of contracts behind me.’ Someone who’s a must. Anyone who says we don’t play the game for money is lying to me. I have a feeling if you weren’t getting paid you wouldn’t be here doing it. Obviously, “Everyone loves the game, but I want to make as much money as possible and be as successful as possible wherever I go.”
The Lakers signed Reaves to a standard two-year contract before the start of the 2021-22 season. As a rookie, he appeared in 61 games and averaged 7.3 points with a shot rate of 45.9 percent.
He became a key substitute for head coach Darvin Ham in the 2022–23 season. The Oklahoma alum averaged 13.0 points per game in 64 appearances with a three-point shooting percentage of 39.8 percent.
In the postseason, Reaves was in high demand as a starter. He continued to play well with 16.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game and a 44.3 percent success rate behind the goal in 16 games.
The Athletic’s Danny Leroux pointed out that Reaves might have been barred from remaining with the Lakers by the Arenas clause in the collective bargaining agreement if another team had had a significant interest in signing him:
“When owners and players created the Arenas provision, they also provided a pathway for impacted restricted free agents through the offer sheet process. While the bid sheets in this situation are not allowed to exceed the non-taxable MLE (mid-level exemption) amount for the first time.” After two seasons (with an increase of up to 5 percent in the second year), they are allowed the third season of the bid sheet up to the player’s full maximum salary for that year if the signing cap had not been in effect for the first two seasons, although of course it could be lower.
According to Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, the Arenas rule was added to the CBA in 2005 after a situation arose with three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas when he was an early bird rights free agent with the Golden State after the 2002-03 season warriors was.
The Washington Wizards signed Arenas for six years, $65 million and a salary of $8.5 million in the first season. Unable to honor the deal, the Warriors sent Arenas to Washington.
Luckily for the Lakers, they didn’t have to worry about that and were able to retain a talented young player who was vital to their second-half recovery heading into the postseason.
Reaves will have the highest expectations of his career next season, but given the trajectory he’s embarked on over the past two years, there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue his rise.