When Anthony Davis signed his five-year extension to his rookie contract last summer, this site and virtually every other one described it as being worth $145 million.
But that figure was based on an assumption — that he would qualify for the “Derrick Rose rule” that allows for an elite young player to max out at 30 percent of the salary cap, not 25 percent. To qualify for the Rose rule, players need to meet one of these conditions:
- Win MVP
- Get voted starter of two All-Star games
- Make two All-NBA teams (first, second or third)
That seemed inevitable for Davis after last season, when in his third season in the league he was voted an All-Star Game starter and made First Team All-NBA. But then the Pelicans slumped this season, they are 25-43 and all but officially eliminated from the playoffs. Davis is still putting up 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game, but his efficiency has slipped from insane, historic numbers to “just” very impressive — his true shooting percentage is 55.9 percent (down from 59.1 last season), and his PER has fallen to 25.2 (from 30.8).
Davis was not voted an All-Star starter by the fans. He’s certainly not winning the MVP this season (they can just send it to Stephen Curry now).
Which means Davis isn’t voted onto the All-NBA team by the qualified media members given ballots this year, he does not qualify for the Rose rule.
Which would mean his contract will fall to an overall worth of around $121 million — still a life changing amount, but $24 million less than if he does get voted on.
Which is why Davis probably isn’t down with the idea of Alvin Gentry shutting him down the rest of the season due to knee and shoulder soreness (he will sit Saturday). Gentry said that was a possibility.
Does Davis think about the money? He’s human, of course he’s thinking about $24 million. But he told Justin Verrier of ESPN he’s trying not to let it impact his play.
“It’s a contract. It’s a contract. Twenty-four million dollars … they give out that for [full] contracts,” Davis said. “Can’t control it. You just got to control what you can control, and that’s what’s on the floor….
“I just go out there and play,” he said. “I mean, I’m gonna let the rest take care of itself. I gotta do whatever I can to help the team win, and hopefully that can contribute to whoever votes, or however they decide it, to vote in my favor.
“But if they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about it. If they do, then … I’ll definitely send everybody thank-you notes.”
That’s similar to what Davis told NBC’s Dan Feldman last month.
“All this stuff that everybody’s talking about, money-wise and contracts – I just go out there and play,” Davis said. “That’s not my M.O. ‘If I don’t make this team or don’t do this then I lose money.’ I mean, if you do what you’re supposed to do, all that stuff will take care of itself.”
Davis probably will make the second or third team All-NBA, he’s still an elite player putting up great numbers and playing well, even if the team around him needs a major overhaul. But the NBA is deep with great forwards right now, nothing is certain. Davis could miss the cut.
He’s just trying not to think about it.