Anthony Davis is still well away from potentially reaching free agency but his future with the New Orleans Pelicans may come to a head sooner rather than later. Davis remains under contract through the 2020-21 season, but that is with a $28.7 million player option.
Speculation over where Davis’ career may ultimately take him was thrust into overdrive this past week when LeBron James expressed a strong desire to have the versatile big man as a teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers.
While there certainly isn’t reason for James to not want to play with someone of Davis’ caliber, his comments were further scrutinized because the two share an agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
Although the Pelicans hold a financial edge over other teams if or when Davis reaches free agency, he made it clear that his reputation is what takes precedent, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports:
“I’d take legacy over money,” Davis told Yahoo Sports after posting game highs of 30 points and 20 rebounds to go with five assists in Friday’s loss. “I want to have a legacy. All my people that look up to me, the younger kids, I want them to know about AD’s legacy. Championships, the things I do in the community, being a good teammate, playing hard. All that stuff matters the most to me. Don’t get me wrong, money is amazing. But I think in that sense, money or legacy, I think my legacy will win that battle every time.”
New Orleans can offer Davis a five-year Designated Player Veteran Extension, valued at five years and in the neighborhood of $239 million, this summer. Davis previously signed a five-year, $145 million extension with the Pelicans in July 2015.
Should Davis opt out or play through his entire contract and reach free agency at that point, the Lakers and other teams would be limited at presenting him with a four-year contract offer.
Considering the Pelicans’ lack of history and struggles in regularly fielding a competitive roster, Davis’ comments could come off as alarming for the franchise. Though to this point there hasn’t been any indication they are mulling a trade in which they would lose Davis.
Instead, the Pelicans are reportedly pursuing options to improve their roster this season.
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