The Los Angeles Lakers made some preparations for the future by agreeing to a three-year, $186 million deal agreement with Anthony Davis. According to Davis’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports and ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on August 4, this is indeed the case. Without a doubt, this is one of the most important news of the NBA in recent times.
Davis’ $62 million average annual pay, according to Wojnarowski, is the highest extended salary in NBA history. Davis, 30, was still owed two more years and around $84 million through the 2024–2025 season, while his current contract runs until 2027–2028.
Wojanrowski noted that Davis continues to be a cornerstone of a team that made it to the Western Conference finals last season, along with LeBron James. According to ESPN Stats & Information analysis, Davis has averaged 25 points and two blocks in a season five times, which is the third-highest total behind Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Davis joined O’Neal and Abdul-Jabbar as the only other Lakers players with 50 blocks in a single postseason during the 2023 playoffs.
In the previous season, Davis had averages of 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. Since being selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, he had played in the NBA for 11 seasons. The 30-year-old basketball star has been selected for four All-NBA, All-Defensive, and eight All-Star teams. He is also a part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Davis has played with Los Angeles for four seasons, averaging 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game.
Meanwhile, LeBron James, who is entering the first year of a two-year, $99 million contract with a $51.4 million player option for the 2024–25 season, is the big elephant in the room now that Davis has committed. James, who made headlines when he said he would think about retiring, will be free to leave the team after this season.
In his 20th NBA season, James, 38, averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists while displaying little indication of slowing down. He has called this season his “Primetime” year in honor of cornerback and Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders.
Although it doesn’t seem like a player looking to hang it up, the possibility of an early exit for a different team, possibly the one that selects his son Bronny James, is still present.
James has backed off from saying publicly that he wants to play with his kid, pointing out that it might not be what the boy wants. However, given that James Jr. was a projected lottery choice prior to his illness, any party’s perspective on the matter may have changed as a result of the latter’s health crisis.
The Lakers require Davis to move forward even if James intends to retire as a Laker.
James cannot carry the load as well as he once did, despite the fact that he is 38 years old, entering his 21st season, and feeling better than ever. When James eventually left the Lakers, Davis was expected to take over as their leader, but injuries and inconsistent play have stopped that from occurring.
With James sidelined from February 28 to March 24, Davis, who had recovered from his own physical difficulties, performed admirably, averaging 27.3 points and 12.8 rebounds while playing in 11 of the Lakers’ 13 games during that time. They won 7-4 of those contests.
In the Western Conference Finals, Davis averaged 26.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals, earning praise from the Denver Nuggets big man.
The Lakers can now focus on more important issues, like James’ future, since they have secured one of their stars for the foreseeable future.