If we judge the Lakers by the way they ended last season, you can understand why they are hyped for this upcoming campaign. After they made it to the Western Conference Finals and only lost to the eventual champions, the purple and gold administration decided to maintain their core of players ahead of next month’s start of the new competition.
Austin Reaves was probably one of the highlights of the season, as the rising star is considered by many as the third most influential player in their roster. Now that they’ve added players like Christian Wood, Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince this summer, the 25-year-old believes they possess the most talented squad in the league.
“Yeah, I do. Like you said we brought back basically a core that went to the Western Conference Finals,” he said on Zach Lowe’s podcast this week. “You can call it fluky whatever you want, but after the trade deadline I think we had maybe the second or third best record in the league…Like you said [LeBron] being hurt, not even really having any time to mesh really. Things were, after the trade deadline, kinda just thrown out there.”
The Los Angeles guard believes that now they’ll finally have the time to tighten their chemistry together, something that he considers the Denver Nuggets had and gave them last season’s title.
“We had so much talent and we relied on our talent so much that it took us that far…I think, especially now and then training camp coming up, us being able to have the opportunity to grow [chemistry], and just situations to where like in the fourth if we have a couple bad possessions that we know exactly what we’re gonna get to…Just those little things, having this whole time to learn that and do that, I think that’ll elevate us to another level,” Reaves explained.
Now that they are a month away from the new campaign, the 25-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement for the trade moves their front office pulled during the summer.
“We brought in a lot of guys that are super talented,” Austin expressed. “I would argue we have the most talented roster in the league from top to bottom. Getting Christian Wood on a minimum. Gabe [Vincent] coming from a Finals appearance. We have a lot of guys that are super talented and just getting this time to really build a foundation with one another is gonna help us a lot.”
Reaves admitted that at some point he felt allured by the opportunity of playing alongside Victor Wembanyama
One of the teams which is mostly rumored to have wanted to sign Reaves was the Spurs, who Austin admitted on the “Lowe Post Podcast” that he did imagine himself playing next to Victor Wembanyama. However, he was convinced the Lakers would match any offer for him.
”…You know you hear things, and obviously with Wembanyama, like, you know so much upside with him, you know, your mind kind of just wonders into that basketball world what that would be like…,” he said.
Austin Reaves says he thought about joining the Spurs before re-signing with the Lakers 👀
— Basketball Forever (@bballforever_) September 27, 2023
“I didn’t think that there was any way that the Lakers didn’t match whatever was offered,” the LA guard admitted. “They pretty much made it pretty clear that they would match whatever. At the end of the day, I wanted to be in L.A. I love it out here, love the organization, the fans. Obviously, I wish that I could’ve got as much money as possible, but like I said, fit and opportunity, here in L.A. was really what we wanted and really where we wanted to be.”
At the end of the day, Reaves received exactly what he wanted. The Lakers offered as much as they could ever give him, a four-year $53.8 million contract with a player option in the final season.