Anthony Davis has a $28.8 million player option for next season. There is almost zero chance he picks that up.
Which makes Davis a free agent. He’s going to re-sign and stay a Laker after winning his first ring, right?
“I have no idea. I don’t know,” Davis said when asked right after the Lakers clinched the title.
That’s not exactly what Lakers’ fans want to hear. This answer later was better.
“I had a great time in L.A. this first year. This has been nothing but joy, nothing but amazement,” Davis said. “Over the next couple of months, we’ll figure it out. I mean, I’m not 100% sure, but that’s why my agent is who he is and we’ll discuss it and figure it out.”
Davis not fully committing is right out of the playbook of his agent — Rich Paul, the same agent as LeBron James — and something LeBron has always done. Leave the door open for negotiations.
In reality, Davis isn’t going anywhere. For one thing, he forced himself to the Lakers both to win a title (box checked) and to increase his visibility and help his marketing. He’s not leaving that now for the teams with max cap space (you think he’s leaving LeBron and the Lakers for Atlanta or Charlotte?).
Second, the Lakers can offer more money — $32.7 million next season, part of five years at $189.9 million (this assumes a flat salary cap from this season). It is possible Davis and his agent decide he’d make more money opting into his final year then re-signing with the Lakers after next season, so he picks up his option, but the ultimate outcome is the same.
Davis simply is not walking away from any of this. It’s not just my opinion, good luck finding anyone in an NBA front office that expected Davis to be in play this summer. Once he engineered the trade to the Lakers, he was staying. Winning a ring just further sealed the deal.
So does how close Davis has become with LeBron.
“Me and Bron’s relationship, we’re always close. You guys know that,” Davis said. “I got to L.A., he’s the first one to text me, congratulate me, invite me to his house. We kind of celebrated then. We’ve just grown over this past full kind of year, especially here in the bubble, because we were around each other every day. So we were able to really connect off the floor [in a way] that you might not have a chance to do it when you’re in L.A…
“Learning from him helped me be in these moments. I don’t know if he learned anything from me. I mean, he has kind of seen it all, been through it all. But just being around him, the way he acts and the way he leads and the way he enjoys life, being around his family and enjoying the game of basketball, it just pushed me to become a better person and a better player.”
That doesn’t sound like someone leaving the Lakers.