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Austin Reaves’ contract situation with the Lakers: Salary, years left...

Having turned heads with his performance in his first playoff game, it’s no wonder that the Lakers’ diamond in the rough has found his contractual situation under the microscope.

Apr 16, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) shoots as Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) defends during the first half during game one of the 2023 NBA playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre ThomasUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The Lakers have made a habit of discovering players who flew under the radar and the 24-year-old rising star is definitely the next in line. With his play garnering rave reviews, one has to ask what kind of deal is he on and what will he be offered in future?

What’s the situation with Austin Reaves?

Undrafted out of Oklahoma, Austin Reaves was given a two-way contract from the Lakers, which was later upgraded to a regular minimum deal. To that end, he is currently on a salary of $1.6 million for the season. Before we get into exactly what that looks like, it’s important to take a look at why there’s so much chatter about the 24-year-old right now.

Following a string of impressive performances off the bench with an average of 12 points per game, Reaves had already proven himself to be a dependable rotation player. That is of course, until he put 35 points on the board last Sunday night. At that point, it was clear that the Lakers had a talent on their hands. Indeed, as reports now confirm, there is a mutual interest between both parties in seeing a better deal completed in the near future. this season. “He will be a restricted free agent this summer, and will undoubtedly have multiple suitors looking to pry him from the Lakers — especially after stat lines like Sunday’s,” the report read in part. “Both the Lakers and Reaves’ camp have interest in Reaves re-signing in Los Angeles, according to multiple league sources who were granted anonymity so that they could speak freely. The max the Lakers can offer Reaves is a four-year, $50.8 million contract if they chose to use his Early Bird Rights, but they also have the power to match any contract he signs with another team.

There is a catch in Austin Reaves’ situation

One key point to note about Reaves’ potential signing with the Lakers, is the Arenas Rule. As per Sportrac, what that means is the following:

“When a player is an Arenas free agent, opposing teams can still offer whatever salary they are able to give, but the incumbent team is given an avenue to match the offer. What happens in these offers is that the first-year salary for an Arenas free agent is limited to either the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (NTMLE) or what a team can match using their Early Bird exception…. That results in what is often referred to as a “poison pill” structure for a contract.”

To make that simple, should a team offer Reaves four years at $60 million, the reality is it wouldn’t be the logical $15 million per year, but rather the $11.4 million that the Lakers can offer right now. While that is of course, way more than what he’s currently earning, it’s still significantly less than what he could.

So, what does Austin Reaves contract look like?

Austin Reaves signed a 2-year, $2,488,776 contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s important to note that said contract guarantees the agreed $2,488,776, with an annual average salary of $1,244,388. For the 2022-23 season, Reaves will earn a base salary of $1,563,518, while carrying a cap hit of $1,563,518 and a dead cap value of $1,563,518. Though speculation continues to swirl around a new deal with the franchise, there has yet to be any official word on what it could look like.


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