The Los Angeles Lakers might have plans to convince Anthony Davis to re-sign with the team as he officially heads to free agency, but it may not be an easy task.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported on Sunday that the talented big man has decided to test the open market after winning his first-ever NBA title last month.
“Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis is officially declining his $28.7 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent,” Haynes tweeted.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 16, 2020
Haynes noted that it was not that big of a surprise, as many expected Davis to opt out of the final year of the five-year, $127 million deal that he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016. Many still believe that Davis will end up back with LeBron James and the newly reloaded Lakers, who were reportedly putting the finishing touches on a trade landing sharpshooter Dennis Schröder from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times noted that the Lakers still have more moves ahead as they look to build an even stronger team around James and Davis.
“People with knowledge of the situation expect the Lakers to acquire a defensive-minded wing in free agency. Milwaukee guard Wesley Matthews is expected to be a top target for the Lakers, assuming he declines his player option for next season, which is expected,” he reported.
As Bleacher Report’s Rob Goldberg noted, the Lakers are likely to make a strong pitch to keep Davis for a title defense — especially after they had invested considerable resources to land him in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans — but it may not be an easy task.
“With Davis arguably the top option in free agency this offseason, however, there will likely be a lot of competition to sign the superstar,” he reported.
Given that many already anticipated Davis opting out of the final year, it’s likely that the Lakers were prepared and would be ready to make an offer to bring him back on a longer deal. The front office meticulously built the team that won the NBA title this season, laying the groundwork to land James when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers and hit the open market. They also put together a large package that went to the Pelicans to land Davis, a deal that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks — one of which was the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.