Anthony Davis' first season in Los Angeles could not possibly be going better. Davis is a Defensive Player of the Year favorite, and the Lakers entered the All-Star break with a 41-12 record—four games ahead of any other Western Conference team.
None of that has Davis ready to publicly commit to staying after the season.
"I have no idea about free agency right now," Davis told Jay Cohen of the Associated Press. "I'm worried about this season and what I can do to focus on helping the Lakers win this year and then when that time comes, then come do an interview with me then, we'll figure it out."
Davis is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has been adamant about not making a public commitment about his future. He and agent Rich Paul have maintained that Davis will test free agency.
That said, it's viewed around the league as little more than a formality that the All-Star big man will return to the Lakers this summer. Mark Medina of USA Today reported the Lakers hope Davis will sign a five-year, $202 million max contract in July.
It's possible Davis will seek a more short-term pact to maximize his earnings; he would reach 10 years of NBA service time after the 2021-22 season. Paul could look to coax the Lakers into offering Davis a two-year max contract with a player option for the third season. That arrangement would allow Davis and LeBron James to enter free agency at the same time in 2022, assuming LeBron takes his $41 million player option for 2021-22.
James and Davis have developed a strong relationship built around mutual respect and a desire to bring a championship to the Lakers. Davis recently told ESPN's Dave McMenamin that playing with LeBron, who he deems as the best player in the world, has helped ease his worries during tense moments.
"If he is not worrying, I am not worrying," Davis said. "Once he starts getting upset, we know there's something to fix. I try to lean on him in those regards because he's been there, he's done that. And he has won championships—something that I want to do."
Barring a complete falling out with LeBron—likely the only member of the Lakers roster and/or coaching staff the franchise would not part with to placate Davis—the overwhelming odds are AD will return for several more seasons in Los Angeles. The Lakers were his top choice when he requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, and it's hard to find flaws in what's been an excellent first season.
A lack of public commitment is likely more about leverage and not having any potential blowback in case of a falling out should he choose to bolt.