In huge news reported earlier this afternoon Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes announced that Anthony Davis had turned down a contract extension offered to him by the Los Angeles Lakers and the star will be entering free agency at the end of this season.
It didn’t take long for Tania Ganguli to follow up on this report to add that this has been expected from the moment that Davis arrived in LA and that everything from this point onward should be purely procedural.
While fans would love to see a little more NBA drama revolving around Davis, it is widely believed that there is almost no chance that we’ll see the six time All-Star move to pastures new in the summer. Davis has made it fairly well known that he would be turning down both his player option for next season and any extension offered to him, as he is likely planning to demand the full max this off-season.
In a strange quirk with the collective bargaining agreement, Davis is only eligible to sign around a four year $146 million deal via an in season extension with the Lakers, however by declining this offer and entering free agency, Davis can secure an additional year and further $50 million.
While it would be fun to speculate about Davis calling it quits after a season in LA and taking his talents elsewhere, it seems a little pointless. The only real issue that seems to be coming as a side effect of Davis’ impending free agency, will the the impact on the Lakers’ salary cap. They’re already hard pressed as it is with the deals of James and Davis, but giving their second star a hefty chunk more money is only going to make matters worse.
The Lakers have surprised most pundits so far this season by dragging their depth-less squad to the top of the Western Conference, with most of their money invested in the core of the team and little to no depth on the bench following their initial trade for Davis clearing decks.
It will be interesting to see what direction the Lakers will head in this off-season, potentially coming out of the year with an NBA title, however I think everyone in the league would be utterly dumbfounded if AD decided to cut ties. At this point it’s all about working some salary cap magic to keep the best team possible around their top two guys.
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