The 2022-23 NBA season has officially ended for the Los Angeles Lakers, with the Denver Nuggets beating LeBron James and company on Monday night in Game 4 at Crypto.com Arena to advance to the NBA Finals.
Although James stole all the headlines after the Lakers were eliminated by suggesting he might retire this summer, the Lakers have another primary concern regarding the immediate future of starting guard Austin Reaves.
Despite being undrafted and not expected to make much of an impact on the next level, Reaves has defied the odds and only gotten better from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign.
With Reaves putting on a show during his second season and, as a result expecting to be paid this summer, the pressure is on the Lakers to get a deal done, but they may have the edge in negotiations as he admits he wants to stay in Los Angeles, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
"I want to be here," Austin Reaves said. "It feels like home."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 23, 2023
With Reaves letting it be known that he wants to stay with the Lakers beyond this season and for the foreseeable future, the real question is how much it will take for Los Angeles to keep other teams at bay and ink the promising young guard to a lucrative deal.
Not only was Reaves headed toward signing a lucrative contract before the NBA playoffs, but his play on the biggest stage has only increased his value, which may make it difficult for the Lakers to match any offer that comes his way this summer.
James’ basketball future and Reaves’ contract talks will almost certainly dominate the headlines for the Lakers this NBA offseason.NEXT: The Lakers Are Reportedly Having 'Internal Discussions' About Blockbuster Trade