Just like we all suspected — and even though he made us all wait a while — Anthony Davis is going to remain a Laker for the immediate future. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that the day we’ve been waiting for ever since the team traded for Davis is here: He has officially agreed to re-sign with the Lakers in free agency, and the deal is for longer than any of us anticipated:
The deal includes an early-termination option prior to the fifth year of the deal in 2024-25, Paul said.
Davis, a free agent, is expected to sign the contract as soon as Thursday. He considered several short- and long-term contract scenarios before accepting a full five-year, maximum offer, sources said.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Davis would make $32,742,000 this season, $35,361,360 in 2021-22, $37,980,720 in 2022-23, $40,600,080 in 2023-24 and $43,219,440 in the fifth year of the deal.
That Davis would be back has been an open secret in league circles for quite some time, and it was clear to see how happy Davis was playing alongside his friend LeBron James in Los Angeles, happiness that seemingly was only amplified by their run to the title. James told Davis in the locker room after they won the 2020 NBA championship that they have “more work to do;” now that work can begin in earnest.
Davis re-upping with the Lakers ensures that this team is ready to defend its title, something that wasn’t ever really in doubt, but is now set in stone. As if the additions they’ve made so far weren’t enough, free agency is now definitively a success, and Davis is good enough that him signing made it one regardless of who else the Lakers got. That he did so for at least four years makes it better than most of us could have possibly imagined.
With Davis committed, the Lakers are also now solidified as a contender long-term, too. While it was mostly thought that Davis would take a short-term deal in order to hit free agency again with 10-years of experience so he could sign a max deal worth 35% of the cap, evidently Davis decided to lock in the money now, just one day after LeBron James decided to sign a two-year extension with the team.
It’s unknown if that commitment from James affected Davis’ decision, but it almost doesn’t matter. Regardless of the reasons for it, with Davis and James once again at the center of their roster, there is no chance — barring horrendous injury misfortune — that the Lakers will ever be bad, and at just 27, Davis should be just starting to hit his peak. With him in town, no matter what happens with James in 2023, the Lakers should be good for a long, long time.
He’s batting 1-1 on title chases in L.A. so far. Now it’s time to see if he can take his game up another level, lead them to a repeat, and firmly cement his name among the best players to ever wear the purple and gold. He — and the team — are well on track already, and now he gets to continue the incredible Lakers run he’s managed so far for a long time. This is the cherry on top of one of the best offseasons the Lakers have ever had.