Lakers Rumors: Anthony Davis Declined $146M Max Contract; Will Become Free Agent

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis reportedly declined a four-year, $146 million contract extension and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the Lakers made the offer to Davis on Tuesday, the first day they could under league rules. Haynes reported Davis declined the extension out of "salary-cap implications" and because he wants to focus on this season.

Of course, the extension offer was merely procedural. The six-time All-Star has been consistent in saying he will become a free agent this July, but the overwhelming expectation is he will re-sign with the Lakers.

The Lakers can offer him a five-year, $202 million contract this summer—an increase of $56 million. Davis could also sign a two-year contract with an option for a third season and then become a free agent in 2022 after he's accrued 10 years of NBA service. He would then be eligible to sign a contract for 35 percent of the salary cap.

"Turning down" an extension is a headline-grabber, but there's little reason—basketball or otherwise—to think Davis won't be around for the long term. The Lakers have a four-game advantage for the top seed in the Western Conference at 29-7 and trail only the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the NBA.

Davis is emerging as both an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate, averaging 27.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game while acting as the Lakers' interior anchor. He and LeBron James have without a doubt established themselves as the best one-two punch in the league.

While there are questions about the supporting cast—most notably ball-handling off the bench and shooting—the Lakers are one of the two or three best teams by any objective measure.

They were also Davis' top choice when he requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans last January. The franchise didn't gut its roster of promising young players in a Davis trade just to watch him walk in a year. 

Barring some unforeseen falling out, AD will be a Laker next season and beyond. 

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