Instant Grades for the Lakers’ unprecedented Anthony Davis extension

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /

Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis had a career 2022–23 season and will be expected to play an increasingly bigger role next season. After all, Lakers superstar LeBron James will turn 39 during the 2023–24 season and already showed signs of slowing down during the playoffs. With a lot riding on Davis, the Lakers just decided to give him a major vote of confidence by signing him to a massive 3-year, $186 million extension.

Doing so will lock him up until the 2027–28 season, ensuring that the Lakers will have a star to build around post-LeBron. That might be all well and good, but Los Angeles ignored several big red flags to give Davis a historic contract extension. For starters, Davis has missed an average of 20 games a season over his 11-year career, plus he will be 35 by the final year of his contract extension and will be paid as much as $67 million.

The Lakers risk repeating the same mistake with Anthony Davis.

It’s true that the salary cap is set to start spiking once the NBA’s television contract expires next year, but paying that much for an injury-prone center in his 30s is a recipe for disaster. The Lakers haven’t had a good track record of extending their stars in their 30s, most notably when they gave Kobe Bryant a two-year extension worth $50 million near the end of his career.

That hampered their ability to build around Kobe, and history could repeat itself with Davis. If Davis fails to live up to his contract, Los Angeles may soon regret it, especially with the new collective bargaining agreement targeting teams like them that overspend. They also won’t have many draft picks remaining after giving up most of the ones they had left to get off Russell Westbrook’s ugly contract. Who’s to say they won’t have to do the same with Davis?

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Ultimately, no matter what, they will still need Davis to play well if the Lakers hope to win a championship. Be that as it may, time will tell whether Davis’ new deal will work out.

Instant Grade: D