The other key question: Will Davis take his full $4,063,953 trade bonus?
The Pelicans will pay the bonus. It will count against the Lakers’ cap.
Especially considering Davis requested a trade, New Orleans could have pressed him to waive the trade bonus in order to accommodate him. Likewise, the Lakers – his desired team – could have made the deal contingent on Davis waiving the trade bonus.
Ramona Shelburne on ESPN:
My understanding is he doesn’t intend to waive that. He’s due the four million dollars, and he’s going to keep it. But again, as you just noted in that monologue, things can change.
If he takes the full bonus, Davis’ salary next season will increase from $27,093,018 to $31,156,971. And good for him. He earned the trade kicker in his contract.
This also supports agent Rich Paul’s contention that he puts Davis’ interests first while representing Davis, not catering to fellow client LeBron James. Because while the extra money is nice for Davis, this hurts LeBron’s Lakers.
The Lakers now project to have just $24 million in cap room. They can still get a helpful player or two, but $28 million would have gone further.
I wonder whether the Pelicans prefer to pay Davis’ bonus. Though a $4,063,953 check is nothing to sneeze at, tying up the Lakers’ cap space has value with New Orleans getting so many future draft picks from Los Angeles. Maybe the Pelicans have already made Davis getting his full bonus an essential aspect of this trade.
If not, the Lakers have a week before the Davis trade can become official to pitch free agents. Perhaps, if they line up certain free agents and show him the spending power of that extra money, Davis would waive all or some of his trade bonus.
But I wouldn’t blame him if he wants his money and puts the onus on the Lakers to build a strong team, anyway. That’d sounds a lot like another Paul client.