Since being acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers, the lingering topic of discussion around star forward Anthony Davis has been his upcoming free agency. Davis is currently in the fourth year of his five-year, $127.1 million deal that has a player option worth $28.7 million next season. The expectation is that he will opt-out of that year, given that he could garner a new contract with a much more lucrative annual salary. With that in mind, Davis was asked again concerning his standing on that pending situation that will unfold next offseason.
Anthony Davis’ strong start to Lakers’ career
Davis acquisition has been everything more than the Lakers had hoped as the team is currently tied for the top mark in the league through the first 28 games played.
The star forward has been one of their driving forces on the court behind a highly productive start as he leads the team with 27.4 points along with 9.3 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals while shooting 49.9 percent from the floor. Davis has been a juggernaut offensively that has seen him pile up a 40-point/20-rebound performance as well as a 50-point outing over his first couple of months with the franchise.
What has been more promising is that he has gelled immediately playing alongside LeBron James. The two quickly built a strong chemistry that has been the team’s foundation on both ends of the floor. That may all be the case, but the underlying question that surrounds the team is the long-term commitment from Davis as he’s set to enter free agency next summer. He has once again addressed the matter at hand this week.
Anthony Davis on his pending free agency
Throughout the season, Davis has made his stance clear that his free-agency decision is one that he will push off until next offseason.
However, the Lakers’ success this season has brought that conversation back into the forefront. During an interview on ESPN’ First Take on Wednesday morning, Davis stayed the course with his response to those questions once again.
“I still look at it as ‘we’ll see what happens at the end of the season.’ Obviously, the season is going great so far, and I’m trying to stay in the moment and worry about (free agency) when the season is over. … “When that time comes, I’ll think about it and see what’s going on. But right now, I’m trying to focus on this year and winning a championship with the Lakers.”
His response isn’t one that is any slight to the Lakers by any means, but one where the contract situation will be handled next offseason. It makes no sense to delve into that at this point, given that he will get a more lucrative contract offer next summer when he opts out of the final year of his deal.
If Los Angeles stays par for the course, there is no reason to be that won’t re-sign with the team on a multi-year deal that could easily be a max contract.
Anthony Davis declines Lakers’ extension
Falling in line with his stance of getting to free agency, Davis decided on Tuesday to decline a four-year, $146 million extension from the Lakers. It’s a move that shouldn’t shock anyone, given that he’s been firm on where he wants to take things.
It isn’t a shot at Los Angeles by any means but may merely be putting himself in the position to secure a contract that is more lucrative from the team. The Lakers have quickly proven to be a force in the league, which should bode well in them being able to pay Davis what he’s looking for over offseason in what could be a max five-year deal worth north of $200 million.
Anthony Davis’ free agency response isn’t surprising
Before the Lakers made the move to acquire Davis, the sense around the star big man was that he was going to test the free-agent.
That was something that his agent, Rich Paul, made quite clear for his client, as he told S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated that he would enter free agency next summer.
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul told SI. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
The notion had always been evident, and a move to the Lakers wasn’t going to change those plans suddenly. Davis is going to operate in his best interest regardless if that’s in Los Angeles or elsewhere.
Anthony Davis focused on this season
The biggest takeaway is that Davis is zeroed in on guiding the Lakers to compete for an NBA title. What they have shown so far does give off the vibe that could be the case if they can stay relatively healthy throughout the regular season.
Davis has dealt with nagging injuries throughout the first quarter of the season, but nothing that draws any serious concerns. If the team hopes to vie for an NBA championship, he will need to be a significant part of the puzzle.
Beyond all that, Davis is focused on the task at hand this season, and the rest will be taken care of next summer.