Anthony Davis remains under contract for two more seasons (player option for 2020-21) but his future with the New Orleans Pelicans has already become a source of speculation. The same held true leading up to free agency in 2015, when Davis signed a five-year, $145 million extension.
The deal at the time was the richest in NBA history. As Davis plays out that contract, rumblings have grown louder of him possibly leaving the Pelicans for the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis didn’t exactly aid the matter over the summer when he switched to Klutch Sports to be represented by Rich Paul, who of course is also the close friend of and agent to LeBron James. In rather pedestrian remarks and essentially stating the obvious, James openly embraced the possibility of playing with Davis on the Lakers.
The comments caught Davis’ attention but his focus is on helping the Pelicans, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe:
“I don’t really care,” Davis told ESPN of James’ comments Wednesday night after the Pelicans’ 123-115 loss to the Bucks. “Obviously, it’s cool to hear any high-caliber player say they want to play with me. But my job is to turn this team around. If we’re 15-17, that means I’m not doing my job.”
New Orleans can offer the versatile big man a five-year, $239.5 million supermax contract extension come July. In the meantime, their efforts are on improving the team around him.
Should Davis reject a potential offer from the Pelicans this summer and either exercise his player option before reaching free agency or simply opt out, he would only be able to sign a four-year, $152.2 million contract with a new team.
A trade prior to that point would allow Davis to re-sign for five years and $205.3 million.
While the Lakers have assets to possibly entice the Pelicans into a trade if they become convinced Davis would bolt in free agency, they may be trumped by the Celtics and their stockpile of not only young talent but first-round draft picks.
The possible arms race adds yet another layer to what’s already shaping to be an interesting decision for Davis.