It was a little bit of a surprise. Not that Anthony Davis re-signed with the Lakers — that was a given — but nearly everyone around the NBA expected hin to sign a 2+1 contract for three years, giving him the ability to opt-out after two years and re-sign for 35% of the salary cap (he currently is maxed at 30%). That was how to maximize how much money he made.
Davis instead signed a 4+1, five-year, $190 million contract with the Lakers (he has a player option in the final year). Davis opted for security, and speaking with reporters on Friday he explained why (hat tip to Dave MacMenamin of ESPN).
“That could have been a two-year, three-year deal. [But] I have to think about, also, the reality of things, too. I do have a little history with injuries, and a two-year deal, you kind of bet on yourself. … God forbid, knock on wood, something happens.”…
“I want to secure the most amount of years possible and be here long term with this team, so I thought the five-year deal was best for me in my situation,” Davis said.
Last season Davis missed just nine games (regular season and playoffs combined) due to shoulder and back issues. However, Davis has missed at least 14 games in five of his eight NBA seasons, and twice missed more than 20 (one of those was the season New Orleans decided to sit him after his trade request). There have been fluke, one-off injuries (such as a fractured hand in 2013-14), but he has had ongoing issues with his shoulders and knees over time.
This was a mature move by Davis, taking the security because he realizes the wear and tear on his body. Other players also have jumped at longer extensions (Kevin Love, for example), while some players have wanted the shorter deals and bet on themselves. It’s a matter of comfort with risk — and how much risk there is — which is an individual choice. Also, when it’s locking in $190 million, there is a comfort level that no matter the decision his family is set for generations.
Davis made his call, but it was the best outcome the Lakers could have hoped for.