Anthony Davis has a player option with the Los Angeles Lakers after this season that many expect him to decline.
There should not be any worries about Anthony Davis leaving the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. Davis essentially forced his way out of New Orleans to be traded to the Lakers, and him leaving in the offseason is unlikely.
Not only is he in a great fit on a contending team in Los Angeles, but there really are not many free-agent fits that would be even worth it for Davis.
With it feeling like a foregone conclusion that he is going to stay, it also seems like a foregone conclusion that he is going to decline his player option to work out a new contract in the offseason.
However, that might not actually be the best move for Anthony Davis, not only for himself but for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Why Anthony Davis might accept his player option with the Los Angeles Lakers:
Typically, the way to go if you are a superstar is to decline the player option and then work out a new super-max deal to not only be paid more in that season but to be guaranteed several more season on top of that. It is simply the smartest thing to do.
While Davis’ $28.7 million option is a pretty penny, he would have made well over $30 million, into the $40 million, with a super-max contract.
The only problem is that the cap situation is currently up in the air for next season. Not only was the cap projected to not grow as much as expected after the Daryl Morey-China situation, but the Coronavirus pandemic has created a very interesting situation.
We do not yet know what the league is going to do to cut its losses in terms of the salary cap. With revenue going down, the cap for next season may very well go down, or we could see the league smooth the cap and spread the losses out over several seasons to keep it from having large pitfalls and spikes.
Regardless of what happens, there is a fairly decent chance that Davis is not going to get the same super-max contract if he signs it this year rather than signing it next year. Over the course of the entire contract, while he would probably still make slightly less next season, he might end up making more if he waits a year for the cap to play out and hopefully increases again.
There is also a selfish reason for the Los Angeles Lakers to want that to happen and that is Giannis Antetokounmpo. By not locking Davis down to a contract this season, the Lakers could get creative with using Bird Rights on Davis and bringing in Giannis in the 2021 free-agency period.
Of course, you would be running the risk of them wanting to pair up outside of LA, but Davis seems to be interested in his legacy as a Laker for life, at least that is the optimistic outlook.
LeBron James is the only player that is currently on the roster for the 2021-2022 season and even he has a player option. So while they could theoretically all leave LA, this opens the door for the team to be creative, similar to how the Miami Heat did with LeBron or how the Warriors benefitted from an unprecedented one-year cap spike to sign Kevin Durant.
While the Lakers would still have the funds to bring Giannis in if they signed AD this summer, it would be easier to piece together as one large plan to then bring in role players of various capacities.
For reasons outside of his control, Anthony Davis might have to sacrifice even more money after sacrificing his $4 million trade kicker before this season. But hey, maybe, like the kicker, it will end up helping the Los Angeles Lakers.