The Los Angeles Lakers made a huge gamble last summer by trading Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and two future first-round picks for Anthony Davis, who can decline his player option and enter free agency this summer.
The stakes from that trade have only increased for the Lakers since the suspension of the NBA season. Instead of getting 82 games — plus the playoffs — out of Davis, the Lakers will have to settle for whatever the league gives them beyond the 63 games they’ve played so far. In a season where every day with Davis counts, that’s not ideal.
However, according to a report from Kyle Goon of the OC Register, most people around the league believe that Davis will return to the Lakers:
By any measure, this is the top priority of the summer given what the Lakers had to give up to get him. Most in league circles believe that work is largely done – that L.A. is where Davis wanted to be, LeBron James is the teammate he wanted to have, and that the Lakers have done enough to sell him on a future with the franchise.
That’s obviously great news for the Lakers and their fans, but there are still questions that need to be answered regarding Davis’ free agency. For example, how long will he re-sign for?
The assumption was that Davis would sign a “2+1” deal like Kawhi Leonard did with the LA Clippers last summer and sign a long-term deal when he’s eligible for the 10-year max, but that was before the NBA suspended its season. With the cancellation of games a growing possibility, the league salary cap will be lower than the projected $115 million, which is already a decrease from the initial $116 million projection. As a result, Davis might be better off just opting into the final year of his contract, which is worth $28.7 million.
The upside to that would be seeing Davis in a Lakers uniform next season, The downside is that we’d do this all again in 2021. In any case, we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out what Davis and his camp want to do.