3 players in line for a big raise during the 2023 NBA offseason

Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reaves of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

G Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers, who rode injuries and struggles to a play-in bid, are two wins away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are obvious focal points, but Austin Reaves has been critical too.

The machinations by the Lakers at the trade deadline allowed the second-year undrafted guard out of Oklahoma to move into a starting role in Darvin Ham’s rotation. He took immediate advantage, averaging 13.0 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game.

He’s somehow been better in the postseason, dropping 23 points on the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their series and never looking back. Reaves is also responsible for covering opponents’ best shooters in the playoffs, including Memphis’ Desmond Bane and Golden State’s Klay Thompson.

Reaves is doing all of this on a minimum contract. He signed a two-year deal with the team, which pays him $1.5 million this season. It’s set to expire at the end of the campaign.

He’s going to get paid this summer. As John Hollinger explained for The Athletic, the Lakers own his Early Bird Rights and Reaves qualifies under the “Arenas Rule,” essentially meaning they can cap his salary at the league average – estimated to be around $12 million – for the first two years of an offer sheet.

The Lakers do have some tough decisions to make this summer with free agents, including D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Denis Schroder. But the way Los Angeles has the rights for Reaves, a restricted free agent, suggests the Lakers could be the ones handing him a nice raise.