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Lakers fans were understandably wary of Anthony Davis’ injury history when he was traded to Los Angeles from the Pelicans in July 2019.
Apparently, Davis was too.
When the time came to re-sign with the Lakers, Davis said he aimed to lock down the lengthiest contract he possibly could in case a career-threatening injury should arise. The seven-time All-Star inked a five-year, $190 million deal Thursday.
“That could have been a two-year, three-year deal,” Davis told reporters on a video conference call Friday. “[But] I have to think about, also, the reality of things, too. I do have a little history with injuries, and a two-year deal, you kind of bet on yourself. … God forbid, knock on wood, something happens.”
The Lakers dominated during the 2019-20 season behind Davis and LeBron James, who also re-upped with the team. Davis, 27, managed to stay relatively healthy, despite shoulder and tailbone injuries, and played in 62 of the Lakers’ 71 games last season – including all 21 of the Lakers’ postseason games on the way to the championship.
However, Davis told ESPN after Game 6 of the NBA Finals that he played through an ankle injury that required significant treatment leading up to tip-off.
The 6-foot-10 Davis was injury-prone in his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Pelicans. He missed 108 of a possible 574 regular-season games due to a myriad of injuries.
“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 in my situation,” he said.
Davis has a player option on the final year of his deal, the 2024-25 season. If he doesn’t pick up the option and opts to reenter free agency, Davis would be eligible to sign another five-year max extension and avoid the “over-38” rule that prevents players from signing long-term deals beyond the age of 38, according to ESPN.