Just as literally everyone expected because it made no financial sense for him to do so, Anthony Davis has reportedly turned down an extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. Not even the team probably expected him to sign it, because again, it wouldn’t make any sense for him to, but hey, I guess it didn’t hurt to try.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports had the details on the Lakers shooting their shot:
The Lakers offered their star forward Anthony Davis a four-year, $146 million max extension on Tuesday, but they were informed that he will be bypassing an in-season extension in favor of entering unrestricted free agency in July, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The decision was made out of salary-cap implications and because Davis wants to solely focus on this season, sources said.
Davis holds a $28.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season that he is expected to decline in order to hit the market, sources said.
$28.7 million for a year and/or $146 million over four may sound like a lot of money to you or me, but they’re not figures that reflect the most money Davis can get. By opting out of the final year of his deal, Davis can receive a five-year, $202 million max contract offer from the Lakers in the summer.
So basically, Davis can get just over $50 million more by waiting and re-signing in July. It’s a weird quirk of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, but that’s why Davis was never signing an extension this year, even if I guess the Lakers had to ask just as a show of respect for him as much as anything.
And make no mistake, despite this decline, Haynes reports that basically no one with a brain expects Davis to leave, even if he’s opting out in July (emphasis mine):
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, delivered the news to Lakers’ the front office after the team’s shootaround in preparation for Tuesday night’s game against the New York Knicks, sources said.
No one within league circles anticipates Davis leaving the Lakers after one season.
Haynes — who is as plugged into the Klutch Sports universe as anyone — writing that last part should not be taken lightly. Davis making this obvious choice to decline a contract worth far less than he could get in the summer should not be a surprise, and isn’t anything to freak out about. This is just doing paperwork, going through routines and checking boxes.
At shootaround before taking on the Knicks on Tuesday, Davis didn’t sound eager to discuss other destinations.
“That was something that I thought about in the past,” Davis said when asked what had made the Knicks appealing to him previously. “I’m kind of just over the whole little situation. Not just the Knicks, but the entire past. It’s really just trying to get here and focus on everything with the Lakers.”
When pressed about the Knicks again, Davis didn’t sound like a guy eager to head there, or anywhere else.
”Like I said, that was all in the past. I’m not gonna talk about no other team but the Lakers,” Davis said.
So theoretically, yes, this decision means Davis can leave as a free agent, but there is no real reason to believe he’ll do so yet. The headline above may sound ominous, but really it’s just business as usual for any star free agent.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.