After months of speculation, Anthony Davis is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. Earlier this evening, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the monumental trade news.
The Lakers sent a big haul back to the Bayou, with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first round picks set to be exchanged. That includes the No. 4 pick in next week’s NBA Draft.
The Celtics reportedly wanted Davis, but not enough to send Jayson Tatum to New Orleans. Other teams like the Knicks were also the subject of rumors, but the Lakers always felt like the ultimate destination, especially given his decision to bring LeBron James associate Rich Paul on as his agent.
The big risk that teams like the Celtics may have not been willing to take was that Davis would walk after 2020, and hit free agency. Just last week, Paul was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story, in which he said that, wherever Davis wound up, he’d play out the year and then enter free agency without signing an extension.
He made that plan very clear.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
Posturing? Maybe. But get ready for another year of it, because Paul says Davis won’t be signing an extension anywhere this summer.
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul says. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that with the Lakers trade, things may have changed in that regard, but per one report, that isn’t the case.
Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes says that Anthony Davis still plans to enter free agency after his first year with the Lakers.
From Haynes on Twitter:
Anthony Davis, who could sign extension with the Lakers this offseason, will play out the 2019-20 season and enter free agency next year, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 15, 2019
Davis has a pretty lengthy injury history, so it still wouldn’t shock me to see him agree to a deal before that, since the Lakers will be heavy favorites to keep him either way.
In his full ESPN report on the deal, Wojnarowski also says that Davis will hit free agency, but he will sign with the Lakers when he does so.
Davis has long planned to sign a new contract with the Lakers once he becomes eligible for free agency in 2020, sources said.
For now, it sounds like his camp is maintaining the status quo.
Per Woj’s report, the teams will likely wait until July 30 to make the trade official, to maximize the amount of cap room the Lakers would maintain, which should be over $30 million. By waiting, the Pelicans would also gain $4 million in cap room.