Anthony Davis is reportedly declining, the Los Angeles Lakers’ first offer of a contract extension, but that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere.
Here comes the inevitable NBA midseason free-agency chatter. Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Anthony Davis turned down a contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The Lakers offered their star forward Anthony Davis a four-year, $146 million max extension on Tuesday, but they were informed that he will be bypassing an in-season extension in favor of entering unrestricted free agency in July, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” wrote Haynes.
“The decision was made out of salary-cap implications and because Davis wants to solely focus on this season, sources said.”
While this news might seem like a bombshell, it’s largely procedural. From the jump, Davis and his camp maintained that they would decline the first contract extension offer. If he opts out of the final year of his current contract after this season, he can re-sign for five years and $202 million. Thus, it makes sense for Davis from a financial standpoint.
Davis and the Lakers are currently atop the Western Conference. LeBron James and his new running mate look like a buzzsaw of physicality and skill on both ends of the floor. Davis is one of the early favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year.
He’s averaging 2.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, but his defensive impact is about much more than the raw numbers. His ability to protect the paint and cover for his teammates is transforming the Lakers into a top-five defense in the league.
The Lakers (29-7) will host the New York Knicks (10-26) in the STAPLES Center on Tuesday night (10:30 p.m. ET).