LeBron James Rumors: New Lakers Contract 'Has Nothing to Do' with Anthony Davis

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) and Anthony Davis (3) celebrate after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James signed a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday that will keep him with the team through the 2022-23 season.

As ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported, that will allow James to get "every dollar possible from the Lakers under contract" since it will take him to his age-38 season, the age cutoff for NBA players to sign multi-year extensions.

But Windhorst added that the decision "has nothing to do with free-agent teammate Anthony Davis." He continued:

"If James and Davis were willing, they could've made sure they were free agents next summer when a number of big names might be on the market. The Lakers, who currently only have about $15 million on their books for the 2021-22 season, could have gotten creative to add another major name.

"But James, sources said, was not interested in that. He believes the Lakers will continue to spend and continue to draw talent. And his top priority when it comes to his contract has got to be getting everything he has earned."

Windhorst reported that Davis, meanwhile, is "still weighing how to structure his contract as he tries to gauge how the salary cap will grow in the next few years" and has been "looking at spreadsheets trying to best guess how to plan the contracts for the rest of his career beyond this deal he's soon to sign."

He added that Davis' "decision-making is independent of James', though they share agent Rich Paul."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Athletic's John Hollinger reported Wednesday that "most suspect [Davis] will soon sign a three-year extension with an opt-out after the second year—when he's eligible for the 10-year veteran maximum of 35 percent of the cap."

Basically, James and Davis find themselves in a situation where their own best interests will probably align. Each player maximizing their future earning potential is going to keep them together for at least two more seasons, assuming Davis signs that three-year deal with a player option in year three. 

As long as the Lakers have James playing at a high level and Davis in his prime, they'll be a title contender. It is fair to question if they'll ever have the financial security or assets to add another star. Last season they didn't need one, though the unique circumstances presented by the bubble made that postseason hard to quantify. 

Perhaps in the future they might, especially if James starts to decline. Surely his skills will diminish at some point. It's now a matter of how many titles the Lakers might win with him and Davis before that happens.