Before the NBA free-agency period opened Nov. 20, Anthony Davis had made up his mind.
He was coming back to the Lakers.
Davis just had to wrap his head around how long his contract should be.
Security for him and his family was one of the factors. The other, Davis admitted Friday during a videoconference with reporters, was his health.
In the end, Davis re-signed with the Lakers on a five-year deal for $190 million, with an early-termination option after the fourth year.
Oh, and there was this other big thing: Davis won his first NBA title in October with the Lakers and LeBron James.
“It wasn’t a matter of whether I was coming back or not,” Davis said. “I think it was just more figuring out the contract length. But it was more so figuring out what’s best for me and my family, trying to figure out, do I want to do a long-term deal, short-term. I just figured this is the place I want to be. I don’t plan on going anywhere. And as you can see, I’ll be here for the next five years, so I just thought it was best for me to just go ahead and lock it in.
“It’s tough to be in L.A. and play for an organization, especially when you just won a championship and a lot of people say how tough it is. … So I just wanted to be here, my family wants to be here. I love this organization. I love the coaching staff that we have. … I just figured why not be here?”
Davis could have signed for two years with a player option for the 2021-22 season worth about $68 million.
Or he could have signed a three-year contract with a player option for the 2022-23 season worth about $106 million, and then become a free agent with 10 years of experience that could have possibly allowed him to earn more from a supermax deal.
Perhaps the real key to Davis re-upping is that the Lakers are guaranteed of having a partnership of him and James, who signed a two-year extension this week valued at $85 million, for three more seasons.
“I thought about that, and that could have been a two-year, three-year deal, but like I said before, I want to be here long term,” Davis said. “Like I said, it’s a great organization. I just felt like that was the best option for me. And then, I have to think about also the reality of things too. I do have a little history with injuries, and you know a two-year deal you kind of bet on yourself. Do I get to that [and] God forbid, knock on wood, something happens and things like that? I want to secure the most amount of years possible and be here long term with this team. So, I thought the five-year deal was best for me and my situation.”
The only thing Davis was unable to do was celebrate with Lakers’ fans after the franchise won its 17th NBA championship, tying Los Angeles with the Boston Celtics for the most in league history.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers didn’t have a parade, and that is something Davis wished could have happened for the fans who had waited 10 years since the team last won a title.
Even when the Lakers get their championship rings, presumably on opening night at Staples Center, Davis and his teammates will get them with no fans in the stands.
“You dream of winning a championship, having a parade, celebrating with the fans, and you know none of that happens because of the pandemic that we’re in,” Davis said. “So I understand why it’s happening, but it’s definitely weird not to have a parade and not have fans to celebrate, especially when another L.A. team, the Dodgers, have won too, so the city would be crazy. But it still doesn’t take away the fact that we’re champions, and as long as we keep holding onto that, we’re good.”
The Lakers announced Friday that they re-signed guard Quinn Cook. whom the Lakers waived last month. He appeared in 44 games last season with the Lakers and averaged 5.1 points.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.