Agent: Anthony Davis inking 5-year deal to return to Lakers

NBA

FILE – Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) slams a dunk against the Miami Heat during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. , in this Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, file photo. Anthony Davis is finalizing a five-year contract worth up to $190 million to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, confirmed the terms of Davis’ pending free agent deal to The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis is finalizing a five-year contract worth up to $190 million to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, confirmed the terms of Davis’ pending free agent deal to The Associated Press on Thursday. The Lakers didn’t comment.

One day after LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Lakers through 2022-23, Davis committed to the Lakers through the 2024-25 season. Davis’ deal includes an early termination clause prior to the fifth year, but the contract is still a clear declaration that the 27-year-old Davis sees his long-term future with the 17-time NBA champions.

The Lakers acquired Davis in a trade before last season, shipping most of their young core to New Orleans to acquire one of the best big men of his generation.

With Klutch clients James and Davis at their core, the Lakers immediately built a championship contender around them. The 6-foot-10 Davis immediately clicked alongside James, earning his seventh straight All-Star selection.

James and Davis reteamed in the bubble in central Florida and led the Lakers to Davis’ first NBA title and James’ fourth. The Lakers had missed the playoffs for six straight seasons before the veteran duo transformed the franchise into champions again.

The Lakers are returning this month with a roster that looks even better than last season’s championship squad. NBA veterans Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell have replaced Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee to keep Davis out of the center spot during the regular season, while Wesley Matthews replaced inconsistent Danny Green on the wing and gifted point guard Dennis Schröder arrived to take ball-handling pressure off James.

Davis excelled throughout his first season with the Lakers, averaging 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. Along with hitting 50% of his shots and a career-high 84.6% of his free throws, Davis was a dominant presence in the paint and on the wing throughout the year while the Lakers played the Western Conference’s stingiest defense.

Davis finished second to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA’s defensive player of the year voting.

Davis was even better in the playoff bubble, averaging 27.7 points 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks. He hit 57% of his shots and 38% of his 3-pointers, including a remarkable game-winning 3 at the buzzer in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against Denver.

Although the Lakers’ massive fan base couldn’t attend their latest championship run, Davis is already cementing a spot among the franchise’s greatest big men, a proud lineage stretching from George Mikan and Wilt Chamberlain through Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol.

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