For Austin Reaves, Los Angeles truly is his home and where his heart resides.
When he entered restricted free agency this offseason, Reaves admitted that his primary intent was to make a return to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The whole time it was, ‘Get back to L.A.,’” Reaves told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “That’s where I want to be. It feels like home to me. I’ve said that multiple times before the free agency stuff, but it was different. I had a stressful probably 10 hours, but after that, when it was done, couldn’t be more excited with the situation, with the team that we got, going back to L.A.”
Reaves inked a four-year, $54MM deal with the franchise last month.
In hindsight, it was a well deserved financial achievement for Reaves as he grinded his way from being an undrafted prospect from Arkansas into one of the team’s most important and coveted pieces.
Last season was a revelation for Reaves as he improved by averaging 13.0 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 boards during the regular season. But these numbers significantly took a major raise as Los Angeles hitted the postseason mark with the 25-year-old stepping up his game for 16.9 points averages to go with 4.6 assists, 4.0 boards and 44.3 percent three-point shooting en route to a Conference Finals appearance.
Reaves revealed in the “All The Smoke” podcast that he eyed a probable partnership with both the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs, but he ultimately chose to stick around with the Lakers for more years to come.
For now, he is enjoying every ounce of opportunity of being a member of the United States national team for the 2023 FIBA World Cup before shifting his focus once again on the next 2023-24 NBA season.