Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis is officially opting out of the final year of his contract, and will become an unrestricted free agent, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. Fans of other teams shouldn’t get too excited, however, as this is just a formality and he’s expected to re-sign with the Lakers on a long-term deal.
The league’s transaction moratorium will be lifted on Monday, and free agency will officially begin on Friday, two days after the 2020 NBA Draft. With such a short window between free agency and the start of training camp on Dec. 1, it shouldn’t take long for the two sides to come to an agreement on a new contract, especially since this has been in the works for months.
At this point, the only real intrigue is whether Davis signs a full four-year max contract to get as much guaranteed money as possible, or whether he signs a somewhat shorter deal in order to give himself more flexibility. For what it’s worth, LeBron James‘ current contract will end in 2022 assuming he doesn’t opt out after next season. If he wanted, Davis could sign for two years in order to put himself on that same timeline.
Either way, the Lakers are well positioned to be title contenders for the next few seasons with Davis and LeBron leading the way. Despite some initial concerns about how the pairing would work, the superstar duo led the Lakers to the championship in their first season together, defeating the Miami Heat in six games inside the bubble last month.
That was Davis’ first ring, and it came in what was really his first deep playoff run. He handled the pressure just fine, putting up 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game in the postseason, all while battling a number of injuries. Along the way, he also delivered a signature playoff moment, hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The Lakers are expected to be busy this offseason as they adjust their roster around the fringes, and they’ve already agreed to trade Danny Green and their first-round pick in this year’s draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Dennis Schroder. But whatever other moves they make over the next few weeks, none will be as impactful as re-signing Davis.