When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, perhaps the only piece of leverage that executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin had was that the Lakers were reportedly the only team that Davis would sign long-term with.
This type of sentiment allowed the Pelicans to ask for more from the Lakers than they would any other team because the idea of a one-year rental was out the window. In turn, the Pelicans flipped Davis for a package of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple draft picks.
However, at his introductory press conference, Davis decided against committing long-term and said that he’s focused on the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season and will think about free agency when next summer rolls around.
“I haven’t had much time here, to be honest. Honestly, I’m focused on the season. When I got traded here, my goal is to bring a championship here with the team that we have,” Davis said. “When that time comes around next year, then we can answer that question and revisit it. Right now, my focus is on this year and how I can help the organization become a championship team.”
There are a couple of things that one could take away from this. The first — and far more likely option — is that Davis doesn’t want to spend all season hearing free agency questions, so he’s putting a stop to that now. In addition, Davis doesn’t want to make any promises he can’t keep as Kyrie Irving did with the Boston Celtics at the beginning of the 2018-19 season before bolting to the Brooklyn Nets.
The second thing is that maybe Davis is not fully committed to this Lakers team and that he absolutely plans on playing the field when July hits.
Regardless of what his intentions are, it seems that Davis at least is ready to give his heart and soul to the team for the 2019-20 season. And hopefully, with enough success from that, he’ll want to commit to a long-term deal.
Even though Kawhi Leonard just did it, it’s hard to turn down a team that one has just won a championship with, especially when that team has LeBron James and a ton of players perfectly suited to Davis’ skillset. For now, it’s best the Lakers let Davis do as he pleases and his free agency decision will happen when it happens.