Why Anthony Davis committed to the Lakers for five years

In a modern NBA where empowerment and leverage have become buzzwords of a competition shaped by the strategic positioning of players and their agents, Anthony Davis’s explanation seemed like why he chose to sign a five-year deal with the Lakers draw almost strange. clearly.

“I just wanted to be here,” the 27-year-old told reporters Friday morning. ‘My family wanted to be here. I like this organization. ”

Davis’s $ 190 million five-year deal could run counter to how many of the NBA’s top players operate today, calculating opt-outs to extract the maximum dollar amounts possible through a dizzying array of CBA guidelines. But his willingness to commit to the Lakers in the middle of the next decade is a reflection of his priorities: winning, long-term safety, and overall happiness.

No one doubted Davis wanted to stay in Los Angeles. But a five-year contract at a time when many in-their-top stars are reluctant to stick with franchises for so long says how much he wanted to be back.

“I just thought this is where I want to be,” Davis said. “I have no intention of going anywhere.”

That was what the Lakers had in mind when they traded for Davis in the summer of 2019, a fortune-changing move that legitimized General Manager Rob Pelinka and aligned the stars for a 2020 championship run in which Davis was a dominant player. His pairing with LeBron James went smoothly, and now under contract with James until 2023the Lakers can work on making the duo the foundation of a dynasty.

Davis said that most of the two-week period between starting a free agency and signing the deal was filled with frequent meetings with agent Rich Paul, studying the CBA, and making predictions about the future of it. salary ceiling. They were trying to determine if a two or three year deal, if he could then renegotiate a higher salary percentage would be in his interest. Some Lakers fans got impatient while waiting, but Pelinka said he was trying to give Davis and Klutch Sports the leeway they needed to strike the best deal.

In the end, they agreed to the contract the Lakers were hoping for, which will usher in a title hunt era until 2025.

“We wanted to give him the time he needed to go through all of those things, but it’s clear where it came out … only for me this is such a strong sign of leadership and just such a great show for our city, for our fans., “said Pelinka.” He is a pillar in LA and I think everyone in this city is embracing his commitment to LA. ”

It should be noted that Davis is no newcomer to NBA power moves. He and Paul helped develop a trade to the Lakers during the 2018/19 season, as well Davis partially sat out games to pressure the New Orleans Pelicans into treating him. It was an eye-opening time for Davis, who was vilified by the franchise that landed him first overall in 2012.

It’s a common Klutch Sports tactic to favor short-term deals with franchise star options in a way to maintain influence on teams to keep them happy and competitive: James did most of his contracts with Cleveland in his second tenure there on that. way.

The uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic over the competition’s finances seemed to be at least one factor that drove Davis towards a long-term deal. But so did his health: he was relatively injury-free for the past four seasons, but early in his career he struggled to be consistently on the field. Last season, the 6-foot-10 forward / center played 62 out of 71 games, but he still seemed aware that contract security would be a welcome thing should he ever take a more serious injury.

“A two year deal, you’re betting on yourself – you know, am I getting on that?” he said. “God forbid, knock on wood, something will happen.”

Davis turns 28 on March 28, and although James, 35, was second in the MVP last season, the natural expectation is that Davis will eclipse James as the better player at some point during their Lakers tenure. But that’s not to say the Lakers expect James to fall off.

Some outsiders compared the two-year $ 85 million extension James signed this week with Kobe Bryant’s contracts when he lost his peak time after an Achilles tendon. Pelinka said he expected James’s game to age well because of his massive IQ and dedication to his body, making him one of the game’s most enduring players.

The decision to renew James, Pelinka said, was “clear.” The franchise aims to have James’ Lakers era rival the success of its other Miami and Cleveland chapters.

“I think what was particularly satisfying and exciting about this is that you can now see, with the legacy he establishes as Laker, that his greatness will be defined here,” Pelinka said. “I’m sure he’ll put up a lot of jerseys one day, but we hope one of them will be a Lakers jersey.”

Thanks in part to a number of roster changes and the retention of their stars, the Lakers are the odds-on title favorites when training camp begins. Jared Dudley predicted Davis will be on the hunt for the MVP award next season, but Davis was more reserved about that – winning comes first, he said.

“If I do it the way I should and (play) to my potential, those things (MVP, DPOY) just happen,” he said. “But the goal is to win another championship. I want to be the leader of our defense. My goal is to stay on the ground as much as possible and not get injured.

“Those are the kind of things I set goals for myself,” added Davis, “and do everything I can to help the team win.”