After Anthony Davis’ early contract renewal window was opened, Lakers President Pelinka immediately put a three-year $186 million maximum salary contract in front of Davis. Davis readily accepted and tied his peak period to the Lakers completely.
For Davis, who has hidden dangers of injury, renewing his contract in advance adds security to his future. In the next five seasons, Davis’ total salary will reach $270 million, of which the average annual salary of the new contract for three years will be $62 million, breaking the record set by Jay Brown not long ago.
For the Lakers, this is a key part of Pelinka’s layout for the post-James era.
The 38-year-old James has player options in the offseason in 2024, and his choices are very diverse. After keeping Austin Reeves, Yasunari and Vincent on 3-4 year contracts, the Lakers renewed their contracts with Davis in advance. No matter how James chooses in the future, the Lakers can ensure that they have Davis and depth, and there is still room to chase other big-name stars in the free market.
Ironically, after the Lakers won the championship season, when it was most necessary to be steady and strive for progress, Pelinka chose to be aggressive. Coupled with the injuries of James and Davis, the Lakers wasted more than two years.
Before the trading deadline in 2023, Pelinka finally completed the "blocking operation" and successfully corrected the error. In the offseason, Pelinka learned a lesson this time and stopped rushing forward. Pelinka’s series of operations show that the Lakers are not only striving to win in the present, but also planning for the post-James era. After all, James will be 39 years old at the end of December and will have the player option in the summer of 2024.
In the draft, the Lakers chose Jaron Hood Schifino with No.17 and Maxwell Lewis with No.40.. Together with last year’s No.35 show, Christie, the Lakers hoarded three potential new stars under the age of 22.
In the free market, the Lakers gave Bacamura $51 million for three years, gave Reeves $56 million for four years, and hired the Heat to introduce Vincent for three years $33 million. All three of them are in the long-term planning of the Lakers. Russell signed a 1+1 contract, and whether he is in the long-term planning is still unknown.
Vanderbilt has not renewed its contract in advance, but from September 7, local time until June 30, 2024, Vanderbilt is eligible to sign an early renewal contract of up to four years and 75 million US dollars. Considering Vanderbilt’s age and characteristics, it is highly possible for him to renew his contract in advance.
Three new stars have good potential, and four of them are high-quality puzzles, so the depth of the Lakers now and in the future is guaranteed. The next step is to establish the leader of the post-James era. Davis is the undisputed star of the Lakers.
Last season, the world has seen the horror of Davis, who plays center. In the regular season, he averaged 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2 blocks, and his shooting percentage was a career high of 56.3%. In the playoffs, Davis has shortcomings, but the data of averaging 22.6 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game is still scary enough, especially his defensive performance.
Buha, a reporter with The Athletic Lakers team, also believes that James’ career is running out, whether the fans are willing to accept it or not, and the Lakers need to make plans early. Whether James retires or leaves the Lakers for other teams in the future, Davis will be the facade of the Lakers’ new era, and he will also be the key for the Lakers to attract other superstars to join.
Aside from the Lakers’ backing in Los Angeles, there is room for salary in the future. Davis’s top defensive ability and offensive ability without the ball make him compatible with any outside star. In the era of Jamey, Davis also proved that he was willing to accept the role of the second master.
The only thing that can affect Davis’ prospects is injuries, but the hidden dangers of injuries have to be looked at separately. It is true that Davis’ attendance is not high, but since the 2016-17 season, Davis has played 400 games. In the same period, Joel Embiid only played 394 games, Curry only played 387 games, Owen only played 362 games and Durant only played 345 games. When Davis’ team entered the playoffs, except for the 2021 playoffs, Davis’ attendance and performance were almost impeccable, and he was absolutely reliable in big scenes.
In addition, regarding Davis’ injury, both Pelinka and Ricky Paul believe that Davis’ injury frequency is more due to his bad luck, and they both believe that Davis’ luck will turn.
Earlier, Paul said: "Davis’s experience in the past two years is very strange. Other players hit his knee and injured him. He stepped on his opponent’s foot when he landed, and he pulled his hamstring or groin before. Any athlete engaged in sports may encounter these injuries, but the outside world described it as if Davis was injured as soon as he played."
Pelinka didn’t expect Davis to avoid injury only by transshipment. He was also trying to help Davis reduce the risk of injury. He signed center Hayes and compared Hayes with Dwight Howard and McKee in the championship season. Pelinka is still planning to sign another center to further lighten Davis’ burden. In the new season, Davis will probably still play as the starting center, but according to the opponent’s counterpoint, the Lakers will be flexible, instead of locking Davis in the fifth position 99% of the time like last season.
The Lakers’ early renewal of Davis is also releasing two signals.
In the Bath family era, the Lakers were a team famous for being kind to the heroes. From Jerry West, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, James and Davis, the Lakers gave enough respect and treatment to the heroes. "Human touch" is the label of the Lakers, and it is also their strategy to recruit superstars to join.
In recent years, the operation of the Lakers has always been inseparable from Paul, a super agent. James is undoubtedly Paul’s most heavyweight customer. Even if James retires in the future, the Lakers will not give up Paul’s line. After all, Paul still holds stars such as Garland and Zach Lavin. Davis renewed his contract in advance, and Vanderbilt (whose agent is also Paul) is likely to renew his contract in advance. In the next few years, the line between the Lakers and Paul will not be broken.
Overall, this is an offseason that can satisfy the Lakers. What should be left is left, and what should be renewed in advance is also signed, and most of the contracts are signed at reasonable prices. The Lakers have both the present and the future, and the remaining problems caused by operational mistakes in 2021 will be basically solved.
In the new season, the Lakers can rely on their depth to help James and Davis reduce their burdens and strive for a better regular season ranking. As for whether the Lakers can compete for the championship in the new season and in the future, it depends on whether Davis can improve attendance, get back the feel of jump shot and really carry the banner.