The Los Angeles Lakers continued their custom of caring for stars Friday, signing Anthony Davis to a three-year, $186 million max extension. The Forehead will now be in purple and gold via 2028, and within the course of was rewarded with the richest annual extension in NBA historical past at $62 million per yr. There’s an apparent takeaway right here, and on the threat of sounding like Kendrick Perkins, the stress 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 — no less than exterior of Boston — about his standing among the many high gamers within the league (and on his workforce). Davis’ deal doesn’t imply a lot apart from making certain the frustration that’s rooting for AD will proceed for Lakers’ followers.
The brand new monetary freedom beneath the up to date CBA and wage cap might 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 occasions 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 might be stress on Davis, however there are at all times expectations of greatness for the Lakers, and a rise in cash received’t considerably change that. He delivered a hoop, and missteps like unhealthy contracts don’t appear to be the loss of life knell for LA like they’re for different franchises.
The inconsistency is what’s irritating
Final yr, LA was a seven seed after getting out of the gates like a Shetland pony on the Kentucky Derby. (Folks do love L’il Sebastian although.) The workforce stabilized over the period of the yr, particularly after Davis returned from damage 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Every time LeBron James retires or is clearly now not LeBron James, this workforce will default to AD, who at 30 years outdated hasn’t performed greater than 62 common season video games in a Lakers uniform, or in any of his previous 5 campaigns.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 recent.
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 a bit of deceptive, as a result of grabbed 14 rebounds a recreation, and did have outbursts, but the shortage of consistency was alarming. Davis eclipsed 30 factors 4 occasions in the course of the 2023 postseason, and in each subsequent recreation, failed to interrupt 20. In two situations, 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 ebook.)
In all chance, Anthony Davis, MVP candidate, is a pipedream. That is what the Lakers do although. They handle their stars, with the information that if it doesn’t pan out, massive names will nonetheless need to come there regardless of how abysmal the state of affairs. Like the various lovely inhabitants who make up LA, the Lakers at all times handle to land on their ft.