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Lakers Trade Rumors: Team’s Plans for Austin Reaves Revealed

Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) drives to the net against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first quarter during game five of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are once again caught up in rumors surrounding a third star. Along with recent reports that the team is a frontrunner for Donovan Mitchell, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha provided a notable update on Austin Reaves’s status within the organization.

Lakers Trade Rumors: Team’s Plans for Austin Reaves Revealed

Latest on Austin Reaves

In the latest episode of his podcast “Buha’s Block,” Jovan Buha discussed potential roster-building paths in the offseason. The issue that has continually emerged is whether to make smaller upgrades or go all out for a third star. Buha noted that of all of the team’s “tradable contracts,” Reaves’ is the most valuable.

While the Lakers still “love” Austin Reaves, Buha revealed a catch in the team’s plans for the 25-year-old.

“If there was a scenario in which they would consider trading him, it would have to be for a bonafide All-Star, an All-NBA caliber guy. That will be put to the test this offseason, depending on which direction the Lakers go.”

The standout shooting guard succeeded despite several obstacles thrown at him this season. Playing all 82 games—and starting 57 of them—Reaves averaged nearly 16 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game on .486/.367/.853 splits. He got into a great rhythm after the trade deadline, with his scoring hitting double digits from Feb. 8 to the end of March. In that time, he put up 17.1 points, 6.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Reaves also played well despite LA’s first-round exit, posting 16.8 points per game on 47% shooting from the field and attempting to will the Lakers himself in the closing moments of game five. Still, when it was all said and done, he held himself accountable and vowed to be better heading into next season.

Debate Over Trading Austin Reaves

While the Laker fan base has strongly supported Reaves, many would understand if he had to go in a major trade. As Buha noted, Reaves appears to be the MVP of LA’s assets, and a deal may not happen if he isn’t included.

However, some have also pointed out that moving on from Reaves—even if it’s for a star—would be the Alex Caruso debacle all over again. The Laker Faithful would much rather see Reaves continue to cook opposing players instead of him cooking the Lakers in another team’s jersey.

Others have suggested—and are hoping for—a massive trade to get done that still keeps Reaves in purple and gold. Fans are convinced that Reaves could still thrive even if Mitchell ends up a Laker. He spent part of his third year—34% of his minutes—at point guard, and fulfilled that role to a tee. If he can serve as a lead guard next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, he may still be effective if another star enters the equation. Reaves’s scoring would take a hit in any scenario, but he has impacted winning basketball in other ways. That only adds to his case towards remaining a Laker.

Reaves has consistently improved into a true rising star. While that growth has certainly helped the Lakers in many ways, these discussions have also shown he isn’t untouchable, and the noise around him could only get louder from here.

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