When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis, they risked their future on a player who is only under contract for one season. On the court, the team almost certainly doesn’t have any regrets. Davis has played like one of the five best players in the NBA and helped lead the team to the best record in the Western Conference.
LeBron James and Davis have formed the NBA’s best duo and before the league was put on suspension, it looked like the Lakers were the best team in the world. With a potential shortened season on the way, Los Angeles needs to try and get Davis to sign a long-term contract. They’ve already tried, according to The Athletic, but the star big man is exercising patience.
Fortunately, it looks like the team has done enough to convince him to stay. According to Kyle Goon in his Purple & Bold newsletter, many around the league believe there’s little chance Davis isn’t in Los Angeles at the start of next season:
By any measure, this is the top priority of the summer given what the Lakers had to give up to get him. Most in league circles believe that work is largely done – that L.A. is where Davis wanted to be, LeBron James is the teammate he wanted to have, and that the Lakers have done enough to sell him on a future with the franchise.
That’s very good news for the Lakers because Davis leaving after one year would be a devastating blow to the franchise. Obviously, nothing is official until he signs a contract, but this is a very positive sign.
What Davis’ Contract Might Look Like
If Davis does sign with the Lakers, he’s in for a major payday. He’ll obviously sign a max deal, but it will be interesting to see how long he commits to the team. LeBron James likely doesn’t have many more years left in the tank. Once he retires, there’s no guarantee the Lakers will give Davis a second star. Goon shed some insight on what Davis’ contract might look like:
The more pressing question is how the loss of revenue could affect Davis’ salary negotiations: Maximum salaries are a percentage of the salary cap, not a set dollar figure. Everyone expects Davis and hardball agent Rich Paul to negotiate a max contract of some length, but if the salary cap drops from just north of $109 million last season to somewhere closer to $100 million (as some models are predicting, depending on if the NBA smooths out the hit), he might have to consider triggering a $28.5 million option.
These are unprecedented times, and it remains to be seen if the NBA will work things around given the circumstances. Regardless, the Lakers want to keep Davis and should give him whatever he wants to make that happen.
Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
What Happens to Kyle Kuzma After the Season?
One thing the Lakers will definitely need to figure out this offseason is what to do with Kyle Kuzma. He was supposed to have a much bigger impact on the team but has largely disappointed. Goon had an interesting suggestion on what the team might do with him:
It seems more feasible now than it did last summer that the Lakers hold off on a Kuzma extension offer, either holding onto him for a year before he’s a restricted free agent, or dangling him out as trade bait (something to which Kuzma is uncomfortably familiar). If the Lakers now think that Kuzma’s development doesn’t fit their expedited title window, now even tighter because of coronavirus, it might be as likely as ever that Kuzma (making $3.5 million next year) gets dealt for another piece.
The Lakers have given Kuzma plenty of chances to prove his worth and the results have been uneven. It’s now looking like a mistake that they didn’t trade him while his value was much higher. They may just try to cut their loses and get something for him.