It’s widely believed that the Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis will be able to reach a long-term extension this offseason to keep the former No. 1 overall pick in purple and gold for the foreseeable future.
However, with much financial uncertainty on the horizon for the league following coronavirus impacts and a rift with China, the salary cap could be affected in a big way. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst broke down what that could mean for superstars like Davis and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo this summer during an appearance on Get Up on Tuesday.
“The reason the supermax was put into the NBA was for this exact reason — to offer superstars so much money they don’t want to leave. It’s had mixed success. The problem however is we don’t know what the salary cap is going to look like next year,” Windhorst said. “And even if the Bucks went 16-0 through the playoffs, if the salary cap collapses, it may not make economic sense for Giannis to extend. And this could also even apply to Lakers and Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis could be smiling from ear-to-ear, so happy to be in LA. But it may not behoove him to sign a long-term contract this summer. The results on the floor obviously matter, but the negotiations with the CBA and what happens with the salary cap may matter more about whether these guys resign this summer.”
NBA Executive Fear Sharp Decrease in Salary Cap
Davis can become an unrestricted free agent this summer if declines his player option — which is expected — while Antetokounmpo still has one year remaining, although the Bucks would like to get a deal done sooner than later. Both have the option to simply wait until next offseason for more clarity.
Some NBA executives fear the cap could fall by $25-30 million next season, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“This CBA was not built for an extended pandemic,” Silver told the NBPA membership, according to audio obtained by ESPN. “There’s not a mechanism in it that works to properly set the cap when you’ve got so much uncertainty; when our revenue could be $10 billion or it could be $6 billion. Or less.”
While the long-term future for Davis is uncertain in LA, it doesn’t mean he won’t return to the Lakers on a shorter deal and wait out to see how the league and attached salary cap rebounds.
Anthony Davis Turned Down Extension During Season
The Lakers offered an extension to Davis during the season, which he turned down. However, the four-year, $146 million deal was no more than a formality. It came on the first day the Lakers were eligible to offer the deal and did so as a way to show their loyalty to Davis following their acquisition of him from New Orleans in the offseason.
The Lakers can offer him a five-year, $202 million max contract this summer. Another option is if Davis decides to sign two-year deal, which would give him 10 years of NBA service when it expires, allowing him to sign a deal worth 35 percent of the salary cap. However, much still depends on how the salary cap moves.
Davis fit perfectly next to LeBron James during his first season in LA, with the superstar duo guiding the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference prior to the coronavirus hiatus.
Davis was averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game at the time of the stoppage and had established himself as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The Lakers are still considered a top contender for the title along with the Bucks and Clippers as the NBA reassembles for a restart in Orlando next month.