The Los Angeles Lakers did a bit of future planning, signing Anthony Davis to a three-year, $186 million contract extension, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on August 4, citing Davis’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
Per Wojnarowski, Davis’ $62 million average annual salary is the largest for an extension in NBA history. Davis, 30, still had two years and nearly $84 million owed to him through the 2024-25 season and is now under contract through 2027-28.
“Along with LeBron James, Davis remains a cornerstone of a team that advanced to the Western Conference finals a season ago,” Wojanrowski wrote. “Davis…has averaged 25 points and two blocks in a season five times — the third-highest total behind only Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, according to ESPN Stats and Information research.
“During the 2023 playoffs, Davis became the third Lakers player with 50 blocks in a single postseason, behind only O’Neal and Abdul-Jabbar.”
He averaged 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists this past season. It was his 11th year in the NBA since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. He is an eight-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA and All-Defensive selection, and a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
In four seasons with L.A., Davis is averaging 24.6 points, 10.1 boards, 3.0 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.3 steals.
Impact of Anthony Davis’ Extension on LeBron James’ Future
With Davis locked in, the elephant in the room is LeBron James as he heads into the first year of a two-year, $99 million contract but one with a $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. James – who caused a stir with comments suggesting he could consider retirement – can walk in free agency for nothing next season.
James, 38, averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists this past season, showing few signs of slowing down as he heads into his 21st NBA season. A season he has dubbed his “Primetime” year, an homage to NFL Hall-of-Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.
That doesn’t sound like a player looking to call it quits, though the specter of an early departure for a different team – perhaps the one that drafts his son, Bronny James – still looms large.
James has backed off his public desire on playing alongside his son noting that it may not be what he wants. But the latter’s health scare could have changed either’s thought process on the whole situation with James Jr. being a projected lottery pick before his ordeal.
Even if James plans on retiring as a Laker, the Lakers need Davis to take that next step.
Anthony Davis’ Ability to be Best Player on Title Team
Even if James is feeling better than ever at 38 years old and heading into his 21st season, he cannot carry the load as he used to. Davis was brought in as the heir apparent to carry the Lakers even after James’ eventual departure but injuries and inconsistency have prevented that from happening.
After making it back from his own injury issues, Davis did yeoman’s work with James out from February 28 through March 24, averaging 27.3 points and 12.8 rebounds appearing in 11 of the Lakers’ 13 contests during that span. They were 7-4 in those games.
Davis also drew praise from Denver Nuggets big man for his playoff exploits averaging 26.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in the Western Conference Finals.
At any rate, the Lakers have locked up one of their stars for the foreseeable future and can turn their attention to other pressing matters such as James’ future.