Like almost all other businesses across the country, NBA teams are dealing with some unexpected financial issues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That could have a direct impact on free agency, and some have wondered if the Los Angeles Lakers will have a difficult time bringing back Anthony Davis.
Apparently that is not a major concern. In a lengthy piece examining what teams are doing to offset the losses from not having fans at games and playing a shorter season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst cited sources who say the Lakers should have no issue re-signing Davis.
Davis has a $28 million player option for the 2020-21 season, and he will almost certainly decline it. He will then be eligible to sign a five-year deal with the Lakers that is worth roughly $200 million. While all teams stand to lose a significant amount of revenue, Windhorst notes that the Lakers have a $200 million television deal and could raise $300 million in a season without selling a single ticket.
Before the pandemic, there was speculation that Davis could sign a 1-and-1 deal with the Lakers, which would allow him to opt out again and be eligible for — in theory — an even bigger max extension following the 2021-22 season. However, he may be more likely to sign a long-term contract now with so much financial uncertainty surrounding the league.
Davis already turned down one contract offer from the Lakers, but that was more of a technicality than anything. No matter what the circumstances, it would be a surprise if LA lets the big man walk.
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Anthony Davis won’t be wearing a social justice message on the back of his jersey when the NBA restarts, though he admitted he thought long and hard about it.
Davis cited the importance of his last name, and how he represents it every time he plays, as being key to his decision.
This means two of the most prominent Laker players will not use a name off the NBA’s approved list, though LeBron James’ stated reason is different than Davis’.
Davis is averaging 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game this season and will be a key part of any title run the Lakers make.
Playing Anthony Davis at the 5 has unlocked a lot of lineup versatility for the Los Angeles Lakers, but head coach Frank Vogel still does not want to do it any more than he has to.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Vogel said that he is hoping not to play Davis at center any more than the team was doing previously, per Harrison Faigen of SB Nation. Vogel also said that there was no change with Dwight Howard’s status for Orlando and added that, if Howard sits out, the Lakers may give Devontae Cacok, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Markieff Morris, or even Kyle Kuzma more minutes at the 5.
Davis, who was averaging 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game this season, had seen about 38 percent of his minutes at center, per Basketball Reference. That lineup configuration had been able to juice the Lakers with small-ball floor-spacing and switchability at every position. But limiting Davis’ time at the 5 prevents the unnecessary wear-and-tear that comes from constantly banging with opposing seven-footers, which is especially important for a player like Davis who is historically prone to injury.
If Howard does ultimately decide against joining the Lakers in Orlando, it could leave them with JaVale McGee as the only true center on their roster. Still, that does not mean that the Lakers plan to overburden Davis, who is facing an important offseason after the Orlando experiment is complete.
Paul George opened up this week about why he requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers three years ago, and the star swingman said a lot of it had to do with a fellow All-Star wanting to play for the Pacers and the team not making an attempt to acquire him. Now, we know who that unnamed player was.
George said he was angry with the Pacers over their unwillingness to explore a trade for “the best power forward” in the NBA. While George didn’t name the player, J. Michael of the Indy Star reports that George was referring to Anthony Davis. However, the situation may have been more complicated than George made it sound.
Davis had two years remaining on his contract at the time, and he reportedly would not commit to Indiana beyond that. Michael went on to note that the Pacers probably did not have enough to offer to entice the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Davis to them.
George said last year that he was going to eventually tell the full story of why he left the Pacers, and it sounds like their inability to acquire Davis was the biggest factor. We’ll never know how much effort Indiana made to land Davis, but they would not be the first franchise that was unwilling to mortgage their entire future for one player.
Of course, it should be noted that George butted heads with the Pacers over their desire to play him at the power forward position. That likely added to his frustration when they were unable or unwilling to trade for Davis.
The NBA is gearing up for a return next month, and the expectation is that we will have playoff basketball. As the Western Conference’s elite teams prepare for the return of the season, we take a look at the most critical question that will define each team’s chances at contending for a championship.
(You can find the biggest questions facing the Eastern Conference’s top teams here)
The NBA playoffs are often full of remarkable performances, with one player taking over a game and dragging his team over the line. After all, we’ve seen it plenty of times over the year, from Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James and many more.
Who are those players now? Here are five who could, if they take over a game or series, be good enough to lead their team to the NBA Finals — and even win a championship when the season resumes in Orlando this summer.
What’s J.R. Smith up to these days? It turns out he’s still hanging out with LeBron James.
Smith, James, and Anthony Davis were spotted riding bikes together in Los Angeles on Saturday in a video taken by a passerby.
Former Laker Jordan Clarkson and James’ agent Rich Paul were also part of the big day out.
Smith is a free agent right now, but is still close with James. He’s apparently getting to know Davis as well, which is probably going to spark some rumors going forward.
We don’t really know if NBA teams will be allowed to add more players if and when the season resumes. That said, last we heard, the Lakers were taking a look at Smith, so maybe this is a preview of something.
The selections for All-NBA forwards and centers present an interesting dilemma, as they strictly adhere to a two forward, one center format. In today’s position-less pace-and-space era of the NBA, it seems antiquated to require one center per All-NBA team. With the game speeding up and a premium being placed on spacing, there is a significant decrease in demand for traditional centers. Teams like the Houston Rockets don’t even believe in playing a center.
The NBA recognized this shift in basketball ideology by removing positions from the frontcourt of the All-Star ballot and allowing for three frontcourt players of any position to be named a starter. While this was a step in the right direction, no changes have been made to the format of the All-NBA teams, resulting in less deserving players on the All-NBA teams simply due to their position.
With that caveat in mind, here are my selections for the All-NBA forwards and centers. (You can see my 2020 All-NBA guards here)
Several NBA stars want to resume the current season, according to a report.
Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes reported on Tuesday that Chris Paul, who is the president of the players’ association, arranged a call with many other top players in the league to discuss the resumption of the season. Haynes says the call included LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.
All players agreed that they wanted to resume the current season when it is safe. The belief is that the superstars all being on the same page will influence the direction of the league.
With the exception of Curry, Durant and Lillard, the players on that call mostly are on championship-contending teams, and therefore would have more incentive to resume the season. Haynes says many players not on playoff contenders feel the season should only resume with playoff teams to minimize the risk of virus exposure.
One issue some players are considering is that the next collective bargaining agreement would be negatively affected if the season were not resumed. That is a concern that was raised by one veteran player.
NBA free agency this offseason may end up being a dud, in large part due to the adverse financial situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that the NBA is facing up to $1 billion in losses and that the uncertainty could lead many free agents to either seek short-term deals or pick up their player options. They also say there will likely be “far less movement” thanks also to the small number of cap-space teams and the relative weakness of this year’s class.
The most notable free agent this offseason will be Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, who is already expected to return to the team. Other potential free agents include DeMar DeRozan, Danilo Gallinari, and Montrezl Harrell.
As for the time being with the season suspended, players will receive their full paychecks as scheduled on April 15, but anything beyond that is unclear. We already heard that the pandemic would likely cause a drop in next year’s salary cap, so the negative impact on free agency goes in the same vein.