Anthony Davis‘ first season with the LA Lakers went as close as picture-perfect. The Lakers‘ dominant run to an NBA title put Davis in the promising position to cash in significantly on his next deal. However, his decision may have cost him millions of dollars in the long run.
Anthony Davis’ impressive first campaign in LA
When the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis last offseason, the feeling around the situation was that it could push the franchise back into title contention.
Things quickly headed toward that path in Davis’ first campaign in LA, playing next to LeBron James. The two superstars quickly built strong chemistry on the floor that catapulted the organization to their first playoff berth in seven years, including their first No.1 seed in the Western Conference in a decade.
Davis played a significant part in guiding the Lakers through a dominant playoff run to an NBA title with a 16-5 overall record, including no series going more than six games. The 27-year-old anchored LA”s defense while proving to be an offensive mismatch for every opponent. He finished the campaign earning his fourth All-NBA First Team selection, second All-Defensive First Team, and seventh All-Star Game selection.
Davis’ next move securing his long-term future with the Lakers has come in a bit of surprising fashion.
Anthony Davis’ deal leaves $60 million on the table
Throughout the offseason, the notion around Anthony Davis remained that he will re-sign with the Lakers.
The only question that lingered was the length of his next contract at the max annual value. The star forward has finally cleared up the air as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that 27-year-old is set to ink a five-year, $190 million contract.
The deal seals his fate with the franchise for the next several seasons. However, the move eliminates the possibility of securing an even more lucrative deal with LA. Suppose Davis elected to take a three-year contract with a third-year player option. In that case, the opportunity to opt-out of the final year could have netted him a significantly larger extension.
In the summer of 2022, he would have hit the 10 years of NBA service mark, making him eligible to secure the 35% max contract. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, in the current projections for a $125 million cap projections that year, his projected deal would have been worth $253.75 million over five years.
Although Davis is making a firm commitment to the Lakers for the long, he may miss out on millions. There will be other opportunities to make up some off the court in endorsement deals. It’s simply hard to look past how much he potentially passed up in NBA contract earnings.
LA has secured their long-term future
It’s easy to get lost in the financial aspect of Anthony Davis’ contractual decision with the Lakers.
What deserves much more attention is that Davis has committed to being the long-term cornerstone piece. Many believed that he would line up his contract alongside LeBron James, but that didn’t come to fruition.
Instead, James has agreed to a two-year extension that will run through the 2022-23 season, while Davis could potentially stay under contract through the 2024-25 campaign. The Lakers can move comfortably forward with building around their two stars, with Davis as the true long-term future.
The next few years will be spent maximizing James’ talent as he nears closer toward the end of his illustrious career. General manager Rob Pelinka has moved lockstep with that notion as he continues to make roster moves to keep that championship window open.
Above all else, the Lakers have finally silenced any of the lingering questions around the franchise. The focus now shifts back to the basketball court ahead of their title defense next season.