When the New Orleans Pelicans made him available on the trade market last summer, All-Star center Anthony Davis informed everyone in the league that he was planning to test the free agency market in the summer of 2020. The Los Angeles Lakers may be among his preferred landing spot, but since they acquired him in a blockbuster deal with the Pelicans, he hasn’t given them any assurance that he would re-sign to them in free agency.
Most NBA fans are definitely eager to know what Davis is planning to do after this season. Though multiple signs seem to indicate that he will be inking a new deal with the Lakers this fall, there are still plenty of things that could happen before he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent, which might affect his decision. For a player of his caliber, Andre Snellings of ESPN believes that the All-Star center’s decision would affect the “entire NBA landscape.”
“Anthony Davis, because his decision affects the entire NBA landscape,” Snelling said when asked who is the player he’ll be watching most closely in the 2020 NBA free agency. “If he stays a Laker as expected, then they are championship favorites for as long as LeBron remains near his prime. If Davis departs, he leaves the Lakers with a huge void and presumably makes his new team a contender. If the Lakers run into a red-hot team that takes advantage of the neutral site and knocks them out early, then Davis’ decision could become more interesting.”
If Los Angeles succeeds in convincing their center to sign a long-term deal, they would maintain their status as a legitimate title contender in the deep Western Conference. As Snellings noted, as long as they have Davis and a near-prime LeBron James, they would remain one of the top favorites to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title.
Meanwhile, if Davis chooses to play somewhere else, the Lakers would undeniably be in a huge dilemma. With their center gone, it would lead to questions about James remaining in Los Angeles. Even if the team would want to give James a new star running mate, they have already used most of their valuable trade assets to acquire Davis from the Pelicans last summer.
Although failing to bring the center back in the free agency may open up a huge chunk of the Lakers’ salary cap space, none of the other incoming free agents could match his production on both ends of the floor. The departure of Davis from Los Angeles would immediately take away their status as a legitimate title contender and could potentially give birth to a new powerhouse team in the league.