So much for being the biggest fish in the upcoming free agent market.
When Anthony Davis declined the Los Angeles Lakers’ $146M max extension last January, teams saw a small glimmer of hope. With AD becoming an unrestricted free agent during the offseason, there was a possibility that they could “steal” him from the Lakers.
Many believed that Davis still preferred to play for the Lakers, but the team’s success or lack of it during the 2019-20 season was seen as a factor that could change ( or not ) AD’s mind. That was back when the Lakers were 27-9 and had the Western Conference’s best record. But after the Lakers won their first NBA title in over a decade earlier this week, the landscape changed.
If there was a small portion of AD’s mind that had any thought of leaving Los Angeles, that is now eradicated. Sorry NBA teams, Anthony Davis isn’t going anywhere.
Davis has a $28.7M player option in his existing contract. While that may look like a significant amount to opt out of, AD stands to earn more if he enters the free agent market.
Not only will Davis earn more in free agency, but he will also have several options depending on his preference. On top of the list of options is signing a max deal with the Lakers. According to cap expert Bobby Marks of ESPN, that max deal is worth $189.9M over five years. Although that is a very attractive offer, a five-year deal entails a long-term commitment from both sides.
If he takes this route, Davis will be spending his prime years with the Lakers. By the time the deal expires, he will be 31 and may no longer command the same price in his next negotiations.
Another option for Davis would be to take the 2+1 deal. Under this scenario, AD would sign a three-year deal with the third year being a player option. AD entered the league in 2012 and with this contract, he will have served 10 years in the NBA before the 2022 free agency. This makes him eligible for the 35% max contract. Using a $125M cap projection for 2022, the Athletic computes that a max contract would be worth $253M over five years or $196 over four years for Davis. That’s a lot of money.
Then there is also the possibility that Davis will opt for the ultimate flexibility with the 1+1 deal popularized by LeBron James and Kevin Durant. This deal could make him the most powerful player on the team with his ability to make immediate changes if needed on a season to season basis. It also allows AD to jump into a new deal immediately if the salary cap comes in lower than projected.
Returning to the Lakers
Whichever deal he chooses, one thing is certain. Davis will remain in Los Angeles next season and there’s nothing the other teams can do about it. That’s great news for the Lakers who are the early betting favorites to win it all again next season. And of course, that’s bad news for the rest of the league who all bowed down to the King and his court during the 2019-20 season.
LeBron James was named Finals MVP but the Lakers couldn’t have won it without AD. While you could claim that James was the most consistent player in the series, Davis had perhaps the most impact.
AD was dominant in the first two games of the series which the Lakers won. His defense on Jimmy Butler was key in winning Game 4. Overall, AD averaged 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in 21 playoff games. During the regular season, he also put up 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Davis’ return will be crucial for the Lakers who are expected to lose some of their key players. Kentavious Caldwell Pope has a player option too and will likely seek out a bigger offer elsewhere. Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee, and Avery Bradley also have player options and it’s still uncertain what they will do next season. But with its top two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis returning to run it back, the Lakers are indeed the team to beat next season.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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