2. Austin Reaves returns for a bargain
The Lakers were always going to be able to re-sign Austin Reaves for a massive bargain this offseason because of the Gilbert Arenas rule. He was a restricted free agent that was limited to making the taxpayer mid-level exception in the first year of his new deal and just a five percent raise in year two. In the end, Reaves inked a four-year $54 million max deal to stay in Los Angeles.
The 25-year-old had a breakout second NBA season where he averaged 13.0 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game. Reaves was the Lakers' third-best player in the playoffs, and every team in the league wants a 6’5 wing with his skill set.
Without the Arenas rule, Reaves would have commanded $20-plus million per season on the open market, so the Lakers got an absolute steal. He will enter the 2023-24 season as the team’s third offensive option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the 25-year-old should only be better in his third year.
The Los Angeles Lakers did a fantastic job filling out their roster, and re-signing Austin Reaves was the most important move. They will be in the thick of contention as long as LeBron and AD stay healthy.