Though there has never really been any uncertainty about how things would wind up, there has been some speculation about just how the contract situation between Anthony Davis and the Lakers would play out in NBA free agency. On Sunday, it apparently took its next big step, with Davis prepared to officially opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
The news came from Yahoo! reporter Chris Haynes.
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This is mostly a formality. Davis turned down an extension offer from the Lakers back in January when he had the opportunity to skip out on free agency to ink what was then a max deal with the team. But he stood to earn more money by waiting until the offseason and hitting the open market.
Davis, who was traded to L.A. in the summer of 2019 for a raft of young players and draft picks, is still expected to re-sign with the Lakers. He was a critical part of the Lakers’ run to the NBA championship this season, averaging 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 21 playoff games. There is no chance the Lakers will let him walk away.
Details of Anthony Davis’ Deal With Lakers Still Far From Decided
The big questions now: How much and for how long will Davis’ Lakers contract be?
He could sign a five-year deal worth more than $180 million, but he is unlikely to go with a long-term contract, at least not for now. The Lakers are hoping to keep their 2021 books clear so that they can make a run at free agents like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George or Rudy Gobert. Davis could sign a two-year contract worth almost $70 million, with an option on the second year.
Davis would then be able to opt out of Year 2 of the deal and allow the Lakers to sign a new player before re-signing with the team again.
It is possible that he could find a middle ground between those two contracts, but in all probability, Davis will either sign to stay long-term or stick with what is essentially a one-year deal with an option. The latter is the more likely choice.
There was some chatter that Davis would consider signing with the Bulls, and under normal circumstances, he might do just that. But having just been traded to the Lakers and having just won a championship with the team, there is no chance Chicago signs him.
Anthony Davis Trade to Lakers Was a Grueling Process
The trade to bring Davis to Los Angeles was part of a grueling process that began the previous year, when Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, made it known that Davis would be seeking his exit from New Orleans. Though Paul had a list of acceptable potential trade destinations for Davis, around the league, it was well-known that it was the Lakers or bust for Davis.
That created an acrimonious relationship between Davis and Paul on one side and the Pelicans front office, then headed by Dell Demps, on the other. The Lakers, eager to land Davis and pair him with LeBron James, a fellow Klutch client, were dragged into the sludge and the situation did not resolve itself until that summer after Demps had been fired and the Lakers and Pels could restart talks on Davis.
Having gone through all of that, the Lakers are not about to allow Davis to bolt. He and James spoke highly of each other and their relationship throughout the playoffs, so it certainly seems that Davis has every intention of staying put.
During the NBA Finals, Davis told Haynes, “I knew what I wanted. I wanted what [James] had. You see the work and preparation LeBron puts in every day, and you understand why this is his 10th NBA Finals appearance. He never stops. I plan to follow this motherf—er to hopefully nine more Finals.”
That should remove any free-agency drama.