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#pounditWednesday, June 12, 2024

Anthony Davis’ massive new Lakers extension has 1 interesting wrinkle

Anthony Davis smiles

Dec 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) against the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers cracked open the vault for Anthony Davis, but there is still some slight protection in it for them.

The eight-time All-Star Davis scored a monster new contract extension from the Lakers earlier this week. Davis is getting another three years and $186 million from the Lakers, which is the richest extension in league history by average annual value ($62 million). It also takes Davis’ total contract value with the Lakers to $270.5 million over the next five seasons.

But Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported this week that there is an interesting wrinkle in Davis’ new extension. Specifically, the Lakers are paying Davis less than his max in 2024-25 and also diminishing the risk on the back end of the deal. That is all because of the timing of the agreement.

Davis originally held a player option for the 2024-25 season, which, had he declined it, would have made him eligible for a new five-year max worth $304 million. But by extending Davis now (and effectively converting that player option into another guaranteed year at slightly below his max), the Lakers are only paying him $270.5 million over five seasons (instead of an overall commitment to Davis of six seasons and a mammoth $344 million).

Of course, $270.5 million is still a considerable amount of money to shell out for a now-30-year-old player with an injury history as long as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” But it is a risk that the Lakers feel is worth taking to give their franchise a clear direction for whenever the LeBron James era ends (between Davis’ new extension and the one that they also recently gave to this other foundational piece).

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