Two big men on the opposite ends of the NBA standings face similar decisions when the offseason rolls around.
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond have player options for the 2020-21 season on their respective contracts.
Davis is in a more enviable position than Drummond since the Lakers sit atop the Western Conference and he has formed a solid partnership with LeBron James. It would make sense for both parties to be interested in a long-term deal given the success of the team with the two superstars on the roster.
Drummond was shipped from one struggling team to another when the Cavaliers acquired him from the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline. Cleveland's young core would benefit from having the league's top rebounder on the roster, and given the salary-cap limits across the league, Drummond could be better positioned to hit the free-agent market in 2021.
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According to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register, the foundation is in place for Davis to spend the next few years of his career in Los Angeles:
"Most in league circles believe that work is largely done – that L.A. is where Davis wanted to be, LeBron James is the teammate he wanted to have, and that the Lakers have done enough to sell him on a future with the franchise."
Davis has a $28.7 million player option on his contract for the 2020-21 campaign, and he could sign a long-term deal at some point as well.
The former New Orleans Pelicans center is averaging 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field in his first season with the Lakers. Davis' scoring presence combined with James' all-around ability pushed L.A. to the top of the West and has the team in title contention when the season resumes.
Even if the Lakers do not come away with the Larry O'Brien Trophy this season, they are in position to contend for championships in every year of Davis' stay in Los Angeles.
The prospect of winning a title and playing with one of the game's best-ever players are some of the many factors that could convince Davis to stay with the Lakers. The team is going to have to dish out a significant amount of money to retain the 27-year-old, but it showed it was willing to take risks to win titles by shipping most of its young core to New Orleans to acquire him.
The worst-case scenario for the franchise is for Davis to opt in next season, not discuss a long-term extension and hit the free-agent market in 2021.
Given how well Davis has meshed with his teammates and the prospect of an extended championship window, the center should be convinced to stay with Los Angeles.
Playing for a team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference is not the ideal situation for the 26-year-old, but it may be the best solution for the 2020-21 campaign. The limited amount of salary-cap space across the league could restrict the number of suitors for the league's leader in rebounds per game.
If he remains with the Cavs for a full season, Drummond could boost his free-agent stock when the market improves in 2021.
In addition to being at the top of the rebounding chart, Drummond has increased his scoring output over the past two seasons. He averaged between 13 and 16 points per game during his first six seasons in Detroit and has increased his totals to more than 17 points per contest in the past two campaigns.
Were that trend to continue, Drummond would provide a scoring force down low for a young Cavs team and boost his stock for when his contract runs out.
Cleveland is not expected to experience a meteoric rise in the East, but with Drummond, Kevin Love, the young guard pair of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and an early lottery pick in tow, it has an opportunity to improve next season.