Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis has officially declined his player option for the 2020-2021 NBA season, to become an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
Yahoo Sources: Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis is officially declining his $28.7 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 16, 2020
Though the move was largely expected during the season–paving the way for the All-Star to explore what is expected to be a strong market for his talents–there had been recent discussion that perhaps Davis would accept his player option and become unrestricted next offseason. With the league dealing with the financial implications caused by the suspension of the season due to COVID-19, there does remain the possibility that a max-contract offered this year would be significantly less than what is expected over the coming seasons, when revenue is hoped to have rebounded.
Nevertheless, Anthony Davis’ entry into free agency immediately catapults him to the top of the class for players available. Despite largely being expected to remain with the Lakers following the team’s successful championship run in the league’s Orlando bubble, the forward did comment that he “had no idea” what his plans were for free agency in the aftermath of Los Angeles’ title celebrations.
While Davis could accept a max offer of five-years with the Lakers, there remains a strong likelihood that he will instead opt for a shorter contract, potentially a one-plus-one offer, to retain his flexibility should the franchise begin to falter as LeBron James and the roster ages.
The announcement of Davis’ decision on Sunday was the second roster move of the day involving the Lakers, as the defending champions have reportedly agreed to acquire Dennis Schroder from Oklahoma City. Due to league restrictions regarding trading draft picks in consecutive seasons, the deal cannot be completed until the conclusion of the NBA draft.