Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - At this point, Anthony Davis' decision to turn down a contract extension from the Lakers has more to do with money than his desire to leave Los Angeles.
Yahoo! Sports reported on Tuesday morning that Davis was offered a four-year, $146 million extension on Tuesday that he rejected. If, as expected, he declines the player option on his contract for next season, Davis can sign a five-year, $202 million max contract with the Lakers this summer.
Davis can sign a four-year deal with other suitors, such as the Knicks, that would be worth less annually.
Sources told SNY last summer that Davis would have been open to re-signing with the Knicks if he were traded there from New Orleans. The Pelicans dealt Davis to Los Angeles, his preferred destination.
As Yahoo! notes, it would surprise many around the league if Davis truly tested free agency. Unless a Lakers' flame-out alters the landscape, the smart money is on Davis re-signing with the Lakers.
Before the report about the declined extension was published, Davis was asked on Tuesday about his interest in being traded to the Knicks.
"That was something I thought about in the past. I'm kind of over that whole little situation," he said. "Not just the Knicks but the entire past. Really just trying to get here and just focus on everything with the Lakers."
Depending on what they do with the options to players like Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and the other free agents signed to short-term deals this summer, the Knicks could have enough cap space to sign a max free agent like Davis and add other significant pieces.
Their front office has taken a beating publicly for how the season has played out. Much of that criticism is deserved as the Knicks are 10-26, well below expectations coming into the season, and fired its hand-picked coach in David Fizdale.
But the front office under team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry deserves some credit for avoiding long-term contract commitments that clog up cap space (Mills, though, inked Tim Hardaway Jr. to a long-term deal before Perry was hired). The Knicks also have all of their first-round picks moving forward and two future first-rounders from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Those are tools the club can use in trades for any superstar that becomes disgruntled, which was part of management's thinking after they missed out on their top targets (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard) in free agency this summer. Whether they can offer a strong enough package to lure that star in the hypothetical scenario is an open question, of course.
But, despite the drama, losing and dysfunction of the last two decades, New York remains a market that some stars seem to consider as they make decisions to leave their current teams.
In an interview with WFAN last month, Davis said the Knicks made the final list of teams he preferred to be traded to last offseason.
"I talked to some guys over there who were still there, and I feel like playing for an organization like that, especially New York, it would be something that I was always interested in," he told the radio station. "You see Melo was there and the history that the Knicks have and a historical franchise that it is, I thought it was something I could definitely be a part of."