“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul says. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
The Lakers put that to the test.
When they initially acquired Davis, the largest extension they could offer was one year, $28,447,669. Now that six months have passed since the deal becoming official, Los Angeles can now offer a four-year, $145,652,065 extension.
The Lakers offered their star forward Anthony Davis a four-year, $146 million max extension on Tuesday, but they were informed that he will be bypassing an in-season extension in favor of entering unrestricted free agency in July, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Barring catastrophic injury or something else unpredictable, Davis was never going to sign an extension no matter where he landed. Paul didn’t shout about 2020 free agency just for the heck of it. Opting out next summer is the clearest path for Davis maximizing his earnings.
If he re-signs, Davis’ max projects to be about $202 million over five years. Even if he leaves, his max – about $150 million over four years – projects to be worth more than an extension now.
There has been chatter about Davis signing a series of short-term contracts. After two more full seasons, he’ll be eligible for a higher max salary. So, he could target having his next contract expire in 2022 rather than locking in beyond that now, when his contract would build off a lower max starting salary. Even if he goes that route, Davis projects to get more over the next couple years by waiting until this summer to sign rather than extending now.
Here are the max salaries Davis could earn in an extension and his projected max salaries in free agency:
The extension is based on his current salary and therefore calculable and exact. His max salary in free agency is based on NBA revenue during the season and is therefore projected and rounded.
Davis has played coy about his attachment to the Lakers, but he hired LeBron James‘ agent, steered himself to Los Angeles and is having an excellent season on a winning team. Everything is set for him to re-sign.
So, don’t mistake this for evidence Davis will leave. He’s just following the timeline the Collective Bargaining Agreement practically prescribes for players like him. The Lakers knew he’d reject this extension. They were just showing their commitment by offering it.
However, because signing an extension now is untenable, that leaves time for something to go wrong before free agency. I doubt anything will. Again, everything is going so right so far. But that miniscule bit of uncertainty is a consequence of this process.