The Lakers could have another Alex Caruso situation on their hands with Austin Reaves and his impending free agency, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.
LA famously lowballed Caruso in free agency two years ago by offering him less than $15 million over two years. He refused and signed a $37 million deal with the Bulls instead, and the Lakers were widely criticised for how they handed the negotiations.
Now, the hope is that they won’t make the same mistake with Reaves, who has been an extremely versatile, high IQ player in LA.
“I think this is a similar situation to D-Lo in terms of mutual interest on both sides,” Buha said.
“But also, there are going to be multiple suitors for Reaves… This is kind of lining up to potentially be another Alex Caruso situation where he wants to be there, and the Lakers want to retain him, but if they try to get a little too cute with the offer or negotiation, I could see him potentially leaving and going somewhere where he’s going to get the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception.”
The key difference between Reaves and Caruso is that Reaves is a restricted free agent, which means the Lakers can match any offers he receives from other teams.
But they would still be wise to avoid any bad blood that could arise if they don’t offer Reaves what he’s worth.