Following his recent decision to turn down a four-year, $146 million maximum contract extension, most sources still expect Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis to re-sign with the team as an unrestricted free agent. However, a new report suggests that it might not be for as long as fans may have been hoping.
On Wednesday, SBNation‘s Silver Screen and Roll cited a report from Bill Oram of subscriber-only publication The Athletic, which claims that some people familiar with the Lakers’ inner workings expect Davis to sign a three-year contract, instead of the five-year, $202 million deal he can theoretically sign from July 1 onward. This contract, as further explained, would include an option on the final year, making it similar to the deal Kawhi Leonard signed when he joined the Los Angeles Clippers last summer.
“That would allow Davis to hit free agency in 2022, when he would be just 29, and still in his prime, and James would be 37 going on 38,” Oram continued, as quoted by Silver Screen and Roll.
As further explained by the publication, there are other factors that could make a three-year contract more favorable to Davis than a longer-term offer. In the event the Lakers big man opts out of the final year of the deal in the summer of 2022, he will already have completed 10 NBA seasons, thus allowing him to sign a deal worth up to 35 percent of his team’s salary cap. This, as pointed out, would also apply to Clippers superstars Leonard and Paul George, who will be eligible for such lucrative contracts in the 2021 offseason.
ICYMI: Anthony Davis caught this lob, but couldn't catch his gum ????pic.twitter.com/s5Kjn9Tq5R
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2020
While the above option could make the most financial sense in the long term, Silver Screen and Roll concluded by opining that Lakers fans are likely hoping that Davis chooses to re-sign for five years. The outlet mentioned one reason why the 26-year-old superstar might consider the latter choice instead — the fact that his former New Orleans Pelicans and current Lakers teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, “[lost] out on millions of dollars” after suffering serious injuries ahead of his free-agency eligibility.
Although Davis was recently quoted as saying he will only worry about his future plans once the 2019-20 season is over, most signs point to the former No. 1 overall draft pick returning to Los Angeles this summer. Currently, the Lakers are leading the Western Conference with a 30-7 win-loss record — just seven short of the 37 wins they tallied in LeBron James’ initial 2018-19 campaign in the purple and gold.