Purely from a basketball perspective, Anthony Davis’ move to the LA Lakers was an unmitigated success. The big man finally got a chance to play for a legitimate contender; his presence, of course, helped the club win a 17th NBA championship. Despite that success, though, AD is reportedly opting out of his contract to become a free agent.
Lakers fans, however, don’t need to panic; the move is, in theory, a financial one, and Anthony Davis should re-sign with the Lakers when everything’s said and done. With that in mind, though, how much money can the big man make by staying in Hollywood?
Anthony Davis is poised to opt-out of his Lakers’ contract and become a free agent
In July 2019, the LA Lakers traded for Anthony Davis. While that move worked out—the big man played a key role in the team’s run to the 2020 NBA title—it also came with a complicating factor.
Davis arrived in Hollywood in the fourth year of a five-year deal. That deal, however, also included a player option; AD could decide whether he wanted to remain under contract for the full term or hit free agency after the fourth season. That led to a year of speculation about Davis’ future.
With free agency looming, though, we’ve finally received some confirmation. As initially reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Davis is opting-out to become an unrestricted free agent.
That decision, however, wasn’t unexpected. The long-running assumption was that Davis would opt-out of his current contract, only to sign a more lucrative deal with the Lakers. Now, it seems like the dominoes are starting to fall.
How much money will Anthony Davis make with the LA Lakers?
Had Anthony Davis played out the final season of his current contract with the LA Lakers, he would have earned $28.7 million. While opting-out and signing a new deal will increase his bottom line, there are a few different financial options on the table.
In October, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, would be sitting down to figure out their best plan of attack. Charania highlighted three potential scenarios
• Two years, $68,103,360: One-plus-one, player option in year two.
• Three years, $106,084,080: Two-plus-one, player option in year three. This deal would bring Davis to 10 years of service before 2022 free agency and thus make him eligible for the 35 percent max contract. Using a $125 million cap projection in 2022, Davis’ max deal would be worth $253.75 million over five years, or $196 million over four years.
• Four years, $146,684,160: Three-plus-one, player option in year four. Using a potential $131.25 million cap in 2023, Davis would be in line for a $266.4 million max over five years or $205.8 million over four years.
Beyond money, the big man also cares about his legacy
As you can see, any of those possible deals will add a nice chunk of change to Anthony Davis’ bottom line. The big man, however, isn’t only worried about money; he values his legacy.
“Money comes and goes; your legacy is forever,” Davis told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times in July 2019. “I think how you establish yourself in the NBA and what you do on and off the court is something that people will remember forever. Obviously, our money is public and people know what we make, but at the end of the day. no one cares about how much money you make.”
So what does that mean for his current contract extension? Thinking about his legacy could push Davis toward either the shortest or longest available options.
Assuming that he doesn’t also opt-out, LeBron James’ Lakers contract will expire in 2022. It’s possible that Davis will want to continue to play alongside LeBron, then set out and build his own legacy elsewhere. Perhaps that’s the right moment to return to Chicago and help lift the Bulls back to relevance?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Davis could also ink a longer deal and take over for LeBron as the Lakers’ main man. If you want to build a legacy, after all, there are few places better than Hollywood.
No matter the exact terms of the deal, though, one thing remains clear. If he re-signs with the LA Lakers, Anthony Davis will become an even richer man.