On August 5th, Beijing time, it was the first day Anthony Davis was eligible to renew his contract in advance. The Lakers quickly offered a three-year maximum salary of $186 million, and Davis readily agreed. In this way, the 30-year-old Davis’ contract with the Lakers was extended to five years, with a total value of $270.5 million.
This renewal ensures that thick eyebrows will play for the Lakers until 2028. After James retires or joins another team, Davis will become a new leader, and his three-year contract renewal will start from the 2025-26 season, with an average annual salary of $62 million, setting a new record for the NBA’s average annual salary.
This is a win-win contract.
Buha, the Lakers’ record, said that this is a win-win contract for the Lakers and Davis. The Lakers have ensured the stability in the next five years, and there is no need to worry that James will retire and Davis will jump out of the contract next summer, leaving them facing the disaster of the free agent market. At the same time, Davis also got a long-term contract guarantee. After all, if he didn’t renew his contract in advance and suffered serious injuries in the new season, it would be difficult for him to sign such a good contract.
This is the second time Davis has renewed his contract with the Lakers. After winning the championship in 2020, Davis signed a new contract with the Lakers for five years and 190 million dollars. At that time, Davis chose a long-term contract, but at that time, Davis waited for more than a week to complete the signing. This time, the two sides only reached an agreement in just a few hours.
This signing can be regarded as a victory for the Lakers. If Davis refuses the player option and jumps out of the contract to sign, the Lakers will spend more money.
If Davis didn’t renew his contract in advance, but waited until he became a free agent, he would be eligible to sign a contract of $304 million, which is $344 million in six years, including the new season, instead of $270.5 million in five years. There is a one-year difference of 70 million between the two. The Lakers renewed their contract in advance, and the final salary paid was lower than his top salary in the 2024-25 season, and the risk in the later period of the contract was reduced.
Thick eyebrows were very dominant last season.
Last season, Davis re-entered the top ten players in the league, averaging 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.0 blocks in 56 games. His shooting percentage (56.3%) and real shooting percentage (62.7%) both reached career highs.
At the beginning of the season, there were signs that the Lakers were handing over the offense, or more broadly, the team to Davis. However, a complicated foot injury in mid-December made him miss 20 games in a row, and his offensive performance was also affected by the injury (28.1 points per game before the injury and 24.7 points per game after the injury). Nevertheless, after James tore his tendon in February, Davis tried to return as soon as possible and help the Lakers move on.
Davis in the playoffs, both offensive and defensive ends are dominant. In 16 games, he averaged 22.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.1 blocked shots, among which both rebounds and blocked shots ranked first in the league. In the first two rounds, Davis was the best defender in the league, but in the Western Conference finals, he was offset by Jokic’s offensive talent, but in four defeats, he still averaged 26.8 points, 14 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.8 blocks.
More importantly, thick eyebrows played 47 of the Lakers’ last 50 games, including 26 consecutive games, which is his new record since the 2016-17 season.
There are two major risks in renewing contracts.
Buha pointed out that this contract renewal is not without obvious defects for the Lakers. The first risk is Davis’ injury history, and it has a long history. This is worrying for a player who will turn 35 at the end of his contract. There is enough evidence that he misses at least 15-20 games every season, while he has missed at least 26 games in the Lakers for three consecutive seasons, including at least 36 games in two seasons. Since the 2016-17 season, he has never played at least 65 games in a season.
The Lakers may find a way to manage his load, reduce his playing time, or let him play only one game back to back when he is in his thirties.
Another less discussed risk is the sharp decline of Davis’ outside projection ability. An important reason why the Lakers can win the championship in 2019-20 season lies in Davis’ impressive jump shot ability. In the second game of the Western Conference in 2020, his winning three points helped the Lakers beat the Nuggets.
However, since then, Davis’ jump shot percentage has been declining, especially the three-pointer percentage. From the data point of view, the number of three-point shots of Thick Eyebrows in these four seasons is decreasing, from 3.5 three-point shots per game in 2019-20 season to 2.8 in 2020-21 season, only 1.8 in 2021-22 season, and only 1.3 last season. The more inaccurate he is, the more afraid he is to shoot. During his time with the Lakers, Thick Eyebrows shot only 28.1% from three points, compared with 25.7% last season.
Poor shooting brings the problem of unstable attack with heavy eyebrows. This is also reflected in his performance in the playoffs is always ups and downs, sometimes good and sometimes bad. In the 2023 playoffs, his average score was only 22.6 points, which was 3.3 points lower than his average score in the career playoffs.
The Lakers will rely on him to recruit stars in the future.
Although it is risky to renew the contract, the Lakers have to do so because they can’t find a new superstar. Before James signed in 2018, the Lakers were trying to find a successor to Kobe. It was the signing of James that successfully attracted Davis.
Next, Davis will play the role of James to help the Lakers attract new stars to vote. When Davis is healthy, the upper limit of the Lakers is very high. They are one of the best teams in the league and have the ability to compete for the championship.
Looking forward to the future, Davis will be the pillar recommended by the Lakers to other future superstar partners. Brother Alphabet, Tatum and Mitchell may all become free agents in 2025 if they refuse the player option. At that time, Davis will be 32 years old. Although his status may have declined, he will still be an elite force at both ends of the offense and defense. If the Lakers can successfully attract another superstar to join them, their prospects will undoubtedly be bright.
Of course, for thick eyebrows, his fruitful cooperation with the Lakers will also lay his future position in this team. At least, there is no problem for his No.3 jersey to retire here.