Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka made it clear all offseason that the goal was to keep as many pieces from last year’s Western Conference Finals team as possible together to build continuity. That’s something that fans haven’t got to experience in a while with the constant roster turnaround from season to season.
However, the front office has found a formula that works after the deadline last year with the new players they acquired in D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and more. The Lakers finally had a contending level team that fits around their two stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and they did even more work to improve that this offseason.
While James is continuing to beat Father Time entering his 21st season, it is important to start thinking long-term about the future of Lakers basketball without James leading the charge. The first step to that was extending Davis on a contract that keeping him in L.A. through 2028, which gives a total of five more seasons with the purple and gold.
Pelinka shared the thought process behind giving Davis an extension, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Jeanie [Buss], Darvin [Ham] and I were just probably the most excited to just get Anthony’s perspective about what it means to do an extension like this and to become a leader of the Lakers for years to come. For us, in our conversations with him, it was really centered around his character, who he is as a person, how he treats his teammates. His commitment to being the hardest worker and helping establish our culture with that. Clearly he is one of the game’s most dominant two-way players, but to see his desire to take on those leadership reigns was significant for us to have those conversations with him.”
The Lakers have built upon their successes from last season by improving the supporting cast even more around Davis and James. While the goal is to still win championships, Pelinka spoke to the importance of having Davis leading the way through 2028:
“Yeah, we talked a lot after the trade deadline last year about the concept of ‘pre-agency’ and really starting our work early. Then we wanted to lean into the continuity of this team, what we were able to accomplish down the stretch, we wanted to improve around the edges. But, clearly extending Anthony Davis is at the core of that, continuity. He’s a pillar of the franchise and again, exciting day for us to be able to know that we can build around him for years to come.”
The Chicago native has signed the richest annual extension in NBA history, and it’s well-deserved after his postseason run on the defensive side of the ball was beyond impressive, showing how valuable he is to this organization.
With Davis now a Laker for the foreseeable future, once James rides off into the sunset, it’ll be interesting to see who the front office targets to pair alongside the 6’10” big man.
Davis has a player option in final year of three-year extension
When the extension was first reported, there was some questioning about whether it was a straight three-year max extension for Davis or if there would be a team or player option. It has now been reported that there is a player option on the last year, which is the 2027-28 season.
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