A summer in which he’s expected to sign a multiyear contract worth, at minimum, $51 million became more memorable for the Lakers’ Austin Reaves as the former undrafted guard committed to play with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Japan this summer.
Sources with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly said Reaves committed to USA Basketball President Grant Hill in the weeks following the Lakers’ elimination from the Western Conference finals.
The FIBA World Cup will be played Aug. 25 through Sept. 10 in the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan.
Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Mikal Bridges and Bobby Portis have also pledged to play for Team USA, according to The Athletic.
Reaves’ place on Team USA is the latest reminder of his swift ascent from going undrafted in 2021.
The Lakers signed Reaves to a two-way contract ahead of the 2021-22 season, but Reaves’ play in minicamp before the season earned him a promotion to a full-time roster spot.
He ended his rookie season with 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a win in Denver. Only Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and Blake Griffin had previously recorded 30-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist triple-doubles as rookies in league history.
Reaves played only 16 minutes in the Lakers’ season opener this year, but by March he was indispensable. He scored in double figures in each of the Lakers’ final 18 games in the regular season as the team pushed into the postseason. He moved into the starting lineup during that stretch, with the Lakers going 8-2 after coach Darvin Ham made the switch.
He shot 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from three-point range in the regular season while averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Reaves made 63.1% of his two-point shots — just the ninth time ever a player 6 feet 6 or shorter made more than 60% on twos when attempting at least 250. Charles Barkley did it four times, Bridges did it twice and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Zion Williamson each did it once.
Reaves capped his second season by averaging 16.9 points in his first playoff appearance.
He’s a restricted free agent this summer, eligible for a four-year, $51-million deal from the Lakers. He can receive offers for close to twice that much from other teams, though the Lakers have the right to match.
Reaves considered playing for the German national team — his brother plays professionally in the country — but said conversations had fizzled when he met with the media after the Lakers lost in four games to Denver.
“We haven’t had any conversations recently,” Reaves said. “It’s been a couple months since I talked to anybody, but the whole plan was to not do anything this summer, but eventually I would like to experience that.”
Eventually, though, will come sooner and with Team USA.
Source: LA Times