The Los Angeles Lakers have a number of players set to hit free agency this summer, but none are as important as guard Austin Reaves.
Down the stretch of his second season, Reaves proved himself to be an absolutely crucial member of the team, growing as a scorer and playmaker and delivering consistently during the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals.
Reaves will be a restricted free agent this summer, but the Lakers have been very open about their desire to retain him and are likely to match any offer sheet he signs. But even with that knowledge, teams are still interested with one of them being the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets have been mentioned before as a team who has Reaves ranked highly on their free agency wish list. And according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Kelly Iko of The Athletic, if James Harden chooses not to return to Houston, Reaves is someone they are very interested in:
Scotto: Should Harden not come to Houston, the Rockets are expected to have interest in Lakers restricted free agent Austin Reaves, I’m told.
Iko: Reaves is a guy they like a lot.
The Rockets interest does make a lot of sense. Houston has a young team with talent, but needs those glue guys who can fit in and help elevate the team.
With new head coach Ime Udoka, they are looking to turn the corner and become a real competitive team and Reaves has proven that he is a winning player who can fit in any system.
Additionally, the Rockets have the salary cap space to offer Reaves the maximum amount of money possible if they want to. But none of that is expected to dissuade the Lakers from matching that offer should they give it to Reaves.
The most Reaves could get in free agency would be a four-year deal worth $98 million and even at that number, it would likely be worth it for the Lakers to match.
He is a player that was crucial to the success of the team and one the Lakers want to keep in purple and gold for the foreseeable future.
Lakers’ Austin Reaves believes he has room to grow as a leader
Reaves is definitely not a finished product and there are still areas where he can improve on the court. But one area where he really wants to grow is as a leader and that is something he plans to work on.
“Yeah, for sure. I’ll never be someone that’s yelling on the court, screaming trying to get someone going,” Reaves said. “I’m more of a pull you to the side and talk to you, have conversations what you see what I see.”
“But definitely, I would like to think I have a decent basketball IQ. See the game good enough that I can expand that as well. Obviously, we got two guys in Bron and AD that’s won championships. They’ve seen it all, so they’re more vocal than I am at this point but I feel like that’s something I can get better at alongside them, too.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!