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Lakers’ Anthony Davis says injury history played a role in signing a five-year, $190 million deal

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Anthony Davis has agreed to a five-year, $190 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, agent Rich Paul confirms, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal, which will presumably start at Davis’ maximum salary of $32.7 million for the 2020-21 season, also includes an early termination option ahead of the 2024-25 season, the fifth year of the deal. With four guaranteed seasons, though, Davis has committed to the Lakers at least through his 31st birthday. 

During his first media appearance since signing the deal, Davis explained that his injury history played a role in his decision to sign the longest possible contract. 

“That could have been a two-year, three-year deal,” Davis told reporters on Friday. “[But] I have to think about, also, the reality of things, too. I do have a little history with injuries, and a two-year deal, you kind of bet on yourself. … God forbid, knock on wood, something happens. I want to secure the most amount of years possible and be here long term with this team, so I thought the five-year deal was best for me in my situation.”

As Davis mentioned, he could have signed a shorter deal to give himself more flexibility, but he preferred the guaranteed money and security of a full five-year max. It also didn’t hurt that LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $85 million extension of his own a day before Davis signed his deal, meaning those two will be Lakers teammates for the long haul. 

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Davis is technically under contract for one year longer than James, but that could not be avoided. James will turn 38 during the final year of that deal, and NBA rules restrict long-term contracts from extending beyond a player’s age-38 season. But both James and Davis are represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, and all indications suggest LeBron plans to spend the rest of his career in Los Angeles. Now, he can feel secure in knowing that Davis will be right there with him. 

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The lone drawback is how these deals will limit the Lakers financially moving forward. Prior to James and Davis re-signing, scenarios existed in which the two could leave money on the table to clear the cap space needed to sign a superstar free agent next summer (presumably, Giannis Antetokounmpo). Now, with James and Davis locked in at the max? That possibility is likely gone.

But coming off of a championship season, such a splurge isn’t something the Lakers necessarily need. James and Davis might be the NBA’s two best players entering the 2020-21 season, and the Lakers revamped their supporting cast by adding Dennis Schroder, Wes Matthews, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell this offseason. With those players in place, the Lakers are positioned to contend as long as James remains a superstar. 

And when he no longer is one, the Lakers can rest easy knowing that Davis is locked in and ready to replace him as the face of the franchise. The Lakers paid a hefty trade price to land Davis in 2019. The move more than paid off with last season’s championship. Now, with at least four more years in purple and gold coming, he’ll only continue to justify their investment. 


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