How the Spurs can stick it to the Lakers this offseason
By Cal Durrett
The NBA offseason hasn't even officially started yet, but the San Antonio Spurs are already winning. They landed the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, guaranteeing they will make Victor Wembanyama the first name off the board and the face of their franchise. They could also clear as much as $43 million in cap space.
That financial flexibility gives the Spurs an embarrassment of riches, and they could use their cap space to stick it to the Los Angeles Lakers. Their former rival started this season with a 2-8 record, only to turn things around and make a miracle run to the Western Conference Finals.
Austin Reaves has played a big part in their turnaround, and while they can re-sign the second-year guard, San Antonio can troll the Lakers by helping drive up his price. Reaves, whose next contract is limited because Los Angeles signed him as an undrafted free agent, is expected to receive around four years and $50 million this summer, a figure only a few teams can afford. The Spurs are one of those teams, and they could very well be the team that offers Reaves that lucrative deal.
Will the Spurs sign Austin Reaves to an offer sheet?
With Wembanyama joining the Spurs, they will likely be much better next season, but they may not look to make a big splash in free agency. Still, using some of their cap space to offer a skilled 24-year-old guard a contract makes sense. Of course, there is the outside chance the Lakers opt not to match a hypothetical Spurs offer sheet. If that were the case, they would get a starting-caliber shooting guard for only $12.5 million per season.
There are worse ways to spend that cap space, and even if they don't land Reaves, sending an offer sheet his way wouldn't affect their ability to wheel and deal this summer. They could use that space to take back other teams' undesirable contracts in exchange for even more future assets, ensuring they can build around their new superstar for the next several years.
Ultimately, the Spurs are one of the few teams that could offer Reaves a massive contract this summer. Tendering such a deal could cost the Lakers millions in salary and luxury tax payments, giving San Antonio a rare chance to stick it to the Lakers.