Anthony Davis is coming off a picture-perfect first season with the LA Lakers that saw him help guide the franchise to an NBA title. Davis meshed incredibly well next to LeBron James that led the team to reach the mountaintop of success. The brief time together has also helped the star big man squash a long-standing rumor concerning James.
Anthony Davis, LeBron James lead the Lakers to an NBA title
The Lakers made the big-splash move in July 2019 to acquire star forward Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James.
The trade quickly led to immediate success, and promising chemistry developed between their star-studded duo. The tandem guided the Lakers to their first playoff berth in seven years and grabbed the top overall seed in the Western Conference for the first time in a decade.
LA’s dominance continued through the playoffs on the way toward an NBA title behind a 16-5 record. The team was pushed to six games just once throughout the impressive run, which saw Davis and James take center stage with their dominant performances.
The 27-year-old proved to be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams throughout the postseason, averaging 27.7 points on 57.1% shooting from the floor with 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
James stepped it up in the playoffs behind his all-around production with 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists on 56% shooting from the field. The Lakers rolled to an NBA title, which helped Davis quickly shut down a lingering rumor about his fellow star teammate.
Anthony Davis dispels rumor about LeBron James
Throughout much of the last several years, there has remained an undercurrent of criticism regarding LeBron James’ reputation.
The bulk of that concerns the notion that James has a selfish mentality on the court. During a recent interview in Da Windy City Podcast, Davis quickly shot down that belief by stating that the four-time NBA Finals MVP is a team player. (H/T Essentially Sports)
“People say he’s a selfish player, he wants to do his own thing, be the focal point and centerpiece,” Davis said. “But I didn’t get that vibe from him. He’s really a team player. He gets so upset when guys aren’t playing to their (full) abilities because he wants them to be great.”
There may have been stages in James’ career where the entire offense revolved around him, but he has continued to emphasize his all-around play. One of his greatest attributes has been his passing ability, which many believe has helped separate him as an all-time great.
In his first year with Davis, James drove home the point of having the star big man as the focal point of the offense. He proved that with his play, which saw the 27-year-old leading the team in scoring in the regular season and playoffs.
There will be those that still hold that criticism, but Davis hasn’t seen any of that in his brief time next playing with James.
Big offseason ahead for LA
The chatter aside, the Lakers’ focus remains on Anthony Davis’ long-term future.
The All-Star big man elected to opt-out of the final year of his deal to enter free agency. The overwhelming expectation is that Davis will re-sign with the Lakers this offseason on potentially a short-term contract.
The likelihood is that the 27-year-old will match his next deal’s length with James’ remaining contract. The 16-time All-Star has two years left on his deal with a $41 million player option for the 2021-22 season. There isn’t any indication about whether he will opt out of the final year, but the choice is there.
Davis may likely lean toward the three-year deal with a player option in the third year. The contract would push Davis to the 10 years of services in the league before the 2022 season. He would then become eligible for the 35% max contract. Those parameters would push him to secure a max deal worth around $250 million.
Much can change in the coming days and weeks, but Davis holds his NBA future in his hands.