Lakers persistence thwarted Spurs’ interest in Austin Rivers

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Since joining the Los Angeles Lakers as an undrafted rookie, Austin Reaves has been a smash hit. Reaves has become an invaluable member of the Lakers rotation in just two years. Yet, Los Angeles was faced with a difficult decision regarding Reaves’ future, when he entered restricted free agency this offseason.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Reaves entered the offseason with significant interest from the San Antonio Spurs. However, Rob Pelinka and the front office’s posturing regarding their willingness to match any offer sheet Reaves signed ultimately scared the Spurs away. Reaves signed a four-year $53.8 million deal shortly afterward. 

“The Spurs, fresh off of having drafted No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama, considered two offers for Reaves, according to multiple league sources not authorized to speak publicly,” Buha wrote. “One for the maximum amount of dollars and years (approximately four years, $100 million) and a smaller, shorter structure (three years, $60 million). In both cases, if the Lakers matched the offer, Reaves’ salary would’ve ballooned for Los Angeles in the third and/or fourth year due to the rule informally known as the Arenas provision. Ultimately, L.A.’s insistence that it would match any offer sheet Reaves signed scared off the Spurs and all other potential cap-space suitors.”

Reaves ended last season with averages of 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest, shooting 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from 3-point range. Yet, it’s Reaves’ ability to scale his production in line with team needs that makes him such a valuable contributor to the Lakers roster.

With Reaves tied down for the next four years, the Lakers not only landed a blow to the Spurs but also secured one of the most important pieces of their roster – it’s been an impressive summer for the Lakers’ front office.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire