It appears Anthony Davis will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to reports. But the six-time All-Star reportedly is not expected to leave Los Angeles.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reports that Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers’ leading scorer, rebounder and shotblocker this season, recently declined a four-year maximum contract extension the team offered him. Davis is bypassing the in-season extension in favor of entering unrestricted free agency this summer, Haynes reports.
The news was also reported by Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Can confirm @ChrisBHaynes report that Anthony Davis declined the Lakers offer of a max extension today. This is all procedural. Davis has made clear he’s always intended on becoming an official free agent this summer.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 7, 2020
According to Haynes, no one around the league expects Davis to leave the Lakers after just one season.
The decision to decline the extension was made solely out of salary-cap implications and because Davis wants to focus on the 2019-20 campaign, Haynes writes. Davis holds a $28.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season that he is expected to decline. Per Haynes, Davis’ agent Rich Paul delivered the news to the Lakers after the team’s shootaround for tonight’s game against the New York Knicks (10:30 ET, NBA TV).
Last summer, Davis waived his no-trade clause in order to complete the blockbuster trade that sent him from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Lakers. In doing so, he was restricted from signing an extension for six months. That restriction was removed on Jan. 7.
Davis is averaging 27.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, stats which are more than on par with his career averages of 24 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg and 1.4 spg. The Lakers, at 29-7, are the No. 1 team in the Western Conference and have the NBA’s second-best record behind the 32-6 Milwaukee Bucks.
The news of Davis opting into free agency in 2020 is hardly a surprise for those who have followed his saga closely over the years. In a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated, Paul said his client would be going into free agency this summer regardless of where he played the 2019-20 campaign.