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Lakers would prefer to keep Austin Reaves this offseason

Ever since LeBron James came to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, they haven’t really looked to develop any young talent. It is a common criticism of James-led teams, as the narrative is that such squads trade away draft picks and young prospects for older veterans.

But Austin Reaves has been an exception. Last season, the undrafted guard emerged in his second year as a starting-level player, and he maintained that level of play this season.

He struggled with his 3-point shooting at times, but he raised his scoring average and put up 2.1 more assists this season compared to last season.

The Lakers have reportedly been steadfast in their refusal to include Reaves in any trade talks, including those involving the Atlanta Hawks’ Dejounte Murray at midseason. According to Jovan Buha, that is still their attitude as free agent and trade season nears.

Via The Athletic:

“The Lakers would also prefer to keep Austin Reaves, according to team and league sources,” wrote Buha. “They previously refrained from including him in trade talks for Murray at the 2024 trade deadline and Kyrie Irving at the 2023 trade deadline. Reaves’ playoff performances in 2023 and 2024 have affirmed his fit around [LeBron] James and [Anthony] Davis.”

The problem is that Reaves is one of their most prized trade assets, other than perhaps their future first-round draft picks. If they want to land a third star, such as Donovan Mitchell, or even if they want to settle for Murray, they may have to part with Reaves in a potential trade.

Reaves is a good player, but it seems very unlikely he will ever be an All-Star, and thus Los Angeles shouldn’t value him as a future All-Star when having trade talks with other teams.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire