Pacific Notes: Reaves, Booker, DiVincenzo, Fernandez

Because Lakers guard Austin Reaves only received a two-year contract when he had his two-way deal converted in September 2021, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency after the 2022/23 season. During an episode of the Late Night Lake Show podcast, Jovan Buha of The Athletic suggested that Reaves will be in line for a substantial raise on his current minimum-salary contract.

“From what I’ve heard on that, it’s going to be more than (Alex) Caruso money, that’s for sure,” Buha said, according to Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll. “It’s going to be double digits.”

When Caruso left the Lakers for Chicago last summer, he signed a four-year deal worth just shy of $37MM. Buha’s comments indicate he expects Reaves to receive at least $10MM annually on his second NBA contract.

While the Lakers haven’t been in position to make competitive offers to certain standout role players, including Malik Monk this past offseason, they’ll hold Reaves’ Early Bird rights in the summer of 2023, giving them more flexibility to make a strong bid. As Rude points out, the Gilbert Arenas provision will also apply to Reaves, so rival suitors won’t have the ability to make an offer the Lakers can’t match.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Asked before Wednesday’s game if Devin Booker‘s return from a groin injury on Christmas Day felt rushed, Suns head coach Monty Williams pushed back against that notion, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “In this case with Book, every box, to my knowledge, was checked,” Williams said. “Before you put a guy back on the floor, you have to do that.” Booker, who suffered a setback four minutes into his return, is now expected to miss at least four weeks.
  • Donte DiVincenzo has a championship ring, is in his fifth NBA season, and is respected by the Warriors‘ young players, but he’s also just 25 years old and feels like he’s still developing, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. As Thompson writes, that makes DiVincenzo something like a “middle child” in Golden State, falling between the team’s older veteran generation and its younger prospects.
  • Before becoming the Kings‘ associate head coach under Mike Brown this season, Jordi Fernandez spent six years in Denver on Michael Malone‘s staff. As Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee relays, Malone still thinks highly of his former assistant, who is coaching the Kings while Brown is in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. “I think one day Jordi will be a head coach in this league,” Malone said. “He’s been a head coach in the G League. He’s got great international experience. This team is on the right path with the right coaches, so I’m really happy for them.”
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