3 reasons signing Anthony Davis to max extension will elevate Lakers to even greater heights

James Kingsley
6 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar big man Anthony Davis agreed to a massive three-year, $186 million maximum contract extension with the team on Friday, making it the richest annual extension in NBA history at a whopping $62 million per year.

By comparison, Davis’ running mate LeBron James will be earning just over $47 million for the upcoming season.

Davis has certainly earned his pay, as he’s been in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year every season he’s been healthy and in a Lakers uniform. He helped the Lakers go from out of the play-in tournament to all the way to the Western Conference Finals this past season.

The Lakers seem to be going all in on the roster from last season, with the exception of a couple of fringe moves. Here’s why securing their best two-way player for the foreseeable future was the right decision.

1. Irreplaceable defense

It’s no secret why the Lakers were so dominant defensively when Davis was on the floor last season. His ability to switch onto perimeter players and the confidence he gave his teammates as an anchor on the backside made them one of the top defensive teams in the playoffs.

The eight-time All-Star led all players in blocks (3.1) in the 2023 postseason as well as defensive rebounds (14.1). He was the best defensive player by a mile, and even dominated DPOY Jaren Jackson Jr. while making him look quite pedestrian in the Lakers’ first-round matchup agains the Memphis Grizzlies. Davis beat him in just about every category.

Anthony Davis Jaren Jackson Jr.
Blocks 26 13
Steals 8 6
Deflections 16 13
Contested Shots 100 90
Defensive Rebounds 64 27

The Lakers are still a bit thin in the frontcourt heading into this season, so making sure that Davis has a home in L.A. for the long-term future is a wise move.

2. Renewed confidence

Ever since Davis has been in Los Angeles, there have been rumors about the Lakers putting him on the trade block. There was even a rumor that had them dangling the center for Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, which sent social media into a frenzy after Davis was seen pouting during James’ record-breaking night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The University of Kentucky product later addressed the viral video and said he was simply in a bad mood because he wanted to win the game so bad with Lakers in such a dire position in the standings.

Davis’ confidence has been known to get shaky at times, but general manager Rob Pelinka immediately offering a max extension for his superstar has to make the 30-year-old feel like the team is deeply committing to a future with him as a cornerstone of the roster.

With a clear mind and growing continuity with the roster from last season, don’t be surprised if the 2023-24 season is one of Davis’ best seasons in Lakers uniform.

3. Solidified core

After going for the three-superstar model before the 2021-22 season when the Lakers had Russell Westbrook, Davis and James on the roster, it seems that the front office is intent on developing a more stable core moving forward.

Westbrook’s tenure with the Lakers was the epitome of a disaster as they missed the play-in tournament in his first season with the team. His second season nearly resulted in the same until Pelinka and company decided to make a deadline deal involving Westbrook that brought in D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.

The Lakers not only made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals after making the trade, but also likely realized that the three-superstar model might not be the best way of going about things in the league these days.

As a result, as soon as free agency opened, the team brought back guard Austin Reaves on a four-year, $56 million deal and forward Rui Hachimura on a three-year, $51 million contract.

They also exercised the $4.7 team option on Vanderbilt and decided to give Russell another shot with a low-risk two-year, $36 million deal.

The final domino to solidifying their core was inking Davis, which will give them a core of Davis, James, Reaves, Hachimura, Vanderbilt and Russell. That’s a scary team to deal with as exemplified in the 2023 postseason after the underdog Lakers surprisingly knocked out both the young and hungry Grizzlies and defending champion Golden State Warriors.

With a refreshed Davis, much of the same core, and new additions like Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes and Taurean Prince, don’t be surprised if the Lakers are raising banner number 18 come June. You’ve been warned.

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James is a Los Angeles native who has been a fan of the Lakers since the Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones days. He has been writing and editing for over five years now and is excited to bring his skillset to the Lakers Daily team.