The Los Angeles Lakers’ championship aspirations are not going anywhere anytime soon and the club’s superstars are not going anywhere but the bank.
ESPN reported that All-NBA star Anthony Davis, 27, will sign a five-year, $190 million maximum contract with the reigning champion, the Lakers, as soon as Thursday, a day after Lakers’ co-star LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension. The deals, both negotiated by Rich Paul-led Klutch Sports, keep Davis in purple and gold through the 2024-25 season, if he exercises a player option for that year, and James through the 2022-23 season when he will turn 38.
Davis’ upcoming salaries will be $32.74 million for this season, $35.36 million for 2021-22, $37.98 million for 2022-23, $40.60 million for 2023-24 and $43.22 million if he exercises the 2024-25 option. Hmmm … $43.22 million. It’s a good thing he has five years to think about it.
The Lakers missed the playoffs for six consecutive years, including James’ first season there, before they traded for Davis in June 2019. They led the Lakers to this year’s NBA championship with Davis playing his best in the playoffs, where he averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals.
“We don’t just look at this at all as a one- or two-year window,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka said recently. “We want to stay competitive for the long term and make decisions that allow us to do just that and not just shoot all of our bullets to try and defend for one year. We want to be in a position of being a sustainable contender.”
That ought to calm the annual misguided talk about Los Angeles swinging to the Clippers, where last season’s optimism turned into an early playoff exit and The Athletic’s report of fractured chemistry because of special treatment for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.