To no surprise, Anthony Davis opted to turn down a four-year, $146 million max contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers to keep his options in 2020 NBA free agency.
The decision by Davis was hardly unexpected since he has always made it clear that he would be looking to test the market once his current deal was up. Furthermore, he will be eligible for a five-year, $205 million deal from the Lakers simply by waiting until July.
Davis has had the benefit of watching some of the NBA’s other premier players set the market when it comes to terms on a new deal. It appears he could be looking to follow a similar model to the one Kawhi Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, Davis may reportedly look for a three-year deal that includes a player option as opposed to a five-year deal:
Some inside the Lakers anticipate Davis might pass on a five-year contract in favor of a three-year deal with a player option in the third year, similar to the contract Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers last summer. That would allow Davis to hit free agency in 2022, when he would be just 29, and still in his prime, and James would be 37 going on 38.
Although the reports indicate that Davis is already gearing up for the future, there is still good reason to believe that it will be in Los Angeles with how well this team has played in the 2019-20 NBA season.
There have been zero signs of the sort of dissatisfaction one might anticipate would force Davis to consider bolting in free agency. This is seen by both sides as a long-term partnership. Just like no one expects him to leave in July, no one thought he would sign an extension in January.
It is encouraging to see that Davis has seemingly made himself rather comfortable alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles. Regardless, he still has good reason to take precautionary steps to ensure that he enjoys the highest level of success for years to come.
There is no question that he and James have fit the billing as the most formidable pairing in the NBA, but it remains to be seen how long they can keep it up. After all, the latter is 35 years old and a lot can change within the 3-5 seasons that Davis potentially opts to stay with the Lakers.
Going with a three-year deal will allow the pair ample time to accomplish their goals before Davis hits the market once again as a player that is still in his prime.