The Los Angeles Lakers will guarantee the contracts for Avery Bradley and Austin Reaves for the rest of the 2021-22 NBA season, effective on Friday afternoon.
ESPN's Dave McMenamin first reported the news:
The fact that Austin Reaves and Avery Bradley have become key rotation players are two of the more pleasant surprises of this Lakers season. No-brainer to keep Bradley, considering his play over the past few weeks. https://t.co/2irFG7np9F
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) January 7, 2022
Neither decision is particularly surprising nor challenging, considering how the season has played out thus far. Reaves and Bradley have become key staples in the Lakers‘ ever-changing rotation, and have been two of the team's better two-way players.
Bradley, who the Lakers claimed off waivers the day before the season began after he was cut by the Golden State Warriors, has become an essential effort player, off-ball cutter, and perimeter defender for a team otherwise bereft on those precise things. The 31-year old has started 26 of the 31 games he has played and has made just under 40% of his 3s. Since the beginning of December, Bradley has averaged 9.5 points on 46.3% shooting from distance. He'll make $2.6 million for the season.
Reaves, in a matter of months, has gone from undrafted rookie on a two-way contract to Lakers folk hero, crunch-time staple, and plus/minus lord. The unheralded 23-year old from a farm in Arkansas inked a two-year deal after impressing the Lakers at their pre-training camp summit in Las Vegas, a deal which will now be guaranteed through the end of his rookie year.
Reaves rapidly became one of the most dependable Lakers, crashing Frank Vogel's rotation within the first week of the season and never leaving. He's a master at the little things, and his defense, playmaking, IQ, and toughness have made him one of the most valuable players on the team.
I asked Austin Reaves about becoming a much more famous person since joining the Lakers:
“I don’t really go out much," he said. "So, I don’t really have to deal with that much. Stay in the house, play the game, lay low.”
Malik Monk teased his pal seconds later:"You famous bro?"
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) January 3, 2022
With Stanley Johnson returning on another 10-day contract, the Lakers have no open roster spots at the moment. Barring any trades, their next notable personnel decision will be whether to re-up Johnson to a second 10-day contract.