The Los Angeles Lakers‘ acquisition of Anthony Davis quickly transformed the franchise into a title contender. Davis has become a foundational centerpiece in Los Angeles alongside fellow star LeBron James. With all that in mind, his agent Rich Paul recently revealed what he told him to convince him to join the Lakers.
Anthony Davis helps transform the Lakers into an NBA champion
A year after the Lakers landed the four-time league MVP, the franchise’s fortunes took another positive seismic turn.
The star big man’s arrival quickly changed the NBA landscape. In his first season alongside James, Davis helped guide the franchise to its first playoff berth in seven years. It also saw the Lakers capture the top postseason spot in the Western Conference in a decade.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic nearly prematurely ending the 2019-20 season, Davis and James led Los Angeles to an NBA title. The two stars anchored an impressive postseason run in the Orlando Bubble, behind a 16-5 record toward a championship.
However, this past campaign saw the Lakers struggle with injuries as the short offseason negatively impacted the roster. Davis missed more than half the season due to health issues, which cropped up in the playoffs leading to a first-round exit.
As the star big man heads into his third offseason as a Laker, his agent revealed how he pushed him toward the situation.
Anthony Davis owes his biggest career decision to Rich Paul’s advice
During the offseason before the 2018-19 campaign, rumors sprouted around Davis’ desire to leave the Pelicans after choosing Klutch Sports to represent him.
It immediately created a strong connection to James due to Rich Paul being one of his closest friends. The conversation persisted throughout that ensuing campaign, especially after the star big man and James went to dinner after a game in December 2018.
Davis quickly addressed the rumors publicly, as he doubled down on his desire to play with another franchise where he can compete for an NBA title. However, it also became clear that Paul’s advice to the eight-time All-Star became a decisive factor in the decision-making process.
In interview with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, the Klutch Sports Group founder voiced why he told Davis to join the Lakers.
For a star player like Davis to commit to a franchise, “you either need your team”—a winning mix of players—“in place, or you need flexibility, assets, money, and the ability to make decisions. And, more important, the willingness to pay the tax”—the so-called luxury tax, for exceeding the league’s salary cap, which the Pelicans at that time refused to pay. “This ain’t ‘Moneyball,’ ” Paul said.
Paul referenced the book written by Michael Lewis that centered on former Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who built a winning team inexpensively by using advanced statistics. He is well aware that teams need to spend money to construct a title contender, and the Lakers have a long history of that.
With James headlining the roster, Los Angeles only had greater reason to follow that financial path. But, beyond that, Paul’s advice helped lead Davis toward the right decision.
Bright future ahead in Los Angeles
Davis is fully committed to the Lakers as one of the long-term centerpieces.
The 28-year-old just finished the first year of his five-year, $190 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 campaign. Meanwhile, the front office will continue to build around him and James in hopes of capturing another NBA title.
The Lakers may experience significant roster change with their two stars holding considerable input concerning the personnel. Although James is still an elite talent, the team’s ultimate success depends on Davis’ health and production.
The concern lies with his health after playing only 36 regular-season games, which marked the first time in his career that he played less than 56 contests in any campaign. Ultimately, Davis will need to be a massive part of the equation if the Lakers hope to return to title contention.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.