The Los Angeles Lakers continued their custom of taking good care of stars Friday, signing Anthony Davis to a three-year, $186 million max extension. The Forehead will now be in purple and gold by 2028, and within the course of was rewarded with the richest annual extension in NBA historical past at $62 million per 12 months. There’s an apparent takeaway right here, and on the threat of sounding like Kendrick Perkins, the strain is on AD to carry out like a top-five participant.
Or is it? Jaylen Brown set the document for NBA offers final month, and there are no misconceptions — not less than outdoors of Boston — about his standing among the many prime gamers within the league (and on his workforce). Davis’ deal doesn’t imply a lot apart from guaranteeing the frustration that’s rooting for AD will proceed for Lakers’ followers.
The brand new monetary freedom underneath the up to date CBA and wage cap could flip each All-Star celebrity into Mr. Monopoly, however received’t essentially change who they’re as gamers. When wholesome, Davis is usually a cornerstone of a championship or convention finals workforce, and the 2 instances in 4 years he’s been wholesome, it’s been nice. The opposite couple of seasons, LA both didn’t make the playoffs or didn’t make it previous the primary spherical.
There will probably be strain on Davis, however there are all the time expectations of greatness for the Lakers, and a rise in cash received’t considerably change that. He delivered a hoop, and missteps like dangerous contracts don’t appear to be the demise knell for LA like they’re for different franchises.
The inconsistency is what’s irritating
Final 12 months, LA was a seven seed after getting out of the gates like a Shetland pony on the Kentucky Derby. (Individuals do love L’il Sebastian although.) The workforce stabilized over the period of the 12 months, particularly after Davis returned from harm on the 50-game mark.
Every time LeBron James retires or is clearly now not LeBron James, this workforce will default to AD, who at 30 years outdated hasn’t performed greater than 62 common season video games in a Lakers uniform, or in any of his previous 5 campaigns. In 2023, he logged 56, the a lot of the previous three years.
That quantity must bump as much as the mid-60s if the Lakers are going to capitalize on the final vestiges of James’ profession. Seeding issues for older groups. I’m not saying LA must expend all its vitality chasing the one seed, however homecourt within the first and second rounds goes a good distance in staying contemporary.
Whether or not Davis is deferring to LeBron, or can’t wrest management of the offense, there have solely been glimmers of the man we noticed in New Orleans who logged 30 and 12 over his two playoffs as a Pelican. Through the convention finals run this previous season, when AD was considerably wholesome, he managed simply 22 factors per outing.
That’s slightly deceptive, as a result of grabbed 14 rebounds a recreation, and did have outbursts, but the dearth of consistency was alarming. Davis eclipsed 30 factors 4 instances in the course of the 2023 postseason, and in each subsequent recreation, failed to interrupt 20. In two cases, there was a 19-point dropoff — 31 then 12, 30 then 11. (There was a 22-point disparity in one other, however following up 40 with 18 isn’t going to get you knocked in my guide.)
In all probability, Anthony Davis, MVP candidate, is a pipedream. That is what the Lakers do although. They maintain their stars, with the data that if it doesn’t pan out, massive names will nonetheless need to come there irrespective of how abysmal the scenario. Like the various stunning inhabitants who make up LA, the Lakers all the time handle to land on their toes.