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Why this NBA title is the most impressive one yet for Lakers, LeBron
SportsPulse: The Lakers and LeBron are back on top. LA gets their 17th. LeBron get his 4th. Both should look at this championship for what it is- arguably their most impressive feat yet.
For now, the Los Angeles Lakers will just enjoy the champagne baths and the confetti. Even if they cannot showcase a standard championship parade because of COVID-19-related concerns, they will celebrate somehow.
After all, the Lakers just won their 17th NBA title to match the hated Boston Celtics and win their first championship in 10 years. After dispatching the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in six games, the Lakers hoisted a trophy to cap a season that finished in a bubble due to the pandemic.
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And yet, it won’t be long until the Lakers look to the offseason. Here are the three biggest questions they’ll be facing:
What will Anthony Davis’ contract look like?
Lakers star Anthony Davis offered an answer Sundayon what his potential future entails.
“I have no idea,” said Davis, who has a player option for next season. “I don’t know.”
No need to continue this speculation. After winning his first NBA championship , Davis will return next season. The only uncertainty surrounds what his deal will look like.
“I had a great time in L.A. this first year. This has been nothing but joy, nothing but amazement,” Davis said. “Over the next couple of months, we’ll figure it out. I mean, I’m not 100 percent sure, but that’s why my agent is who he is and we’ll discuss it and figure it out.”
Davis declined the Lakers’ four-year, $146 million max extension in January so he could potentially earn more as an unrestricted free agent. Davis made that move, however, roughly two months before the NBA suspended the season because of the coronavirus. The league’s salary cap will likely be significantly lower next season; it is tied to “basketball-related income,” an avenue that was hit without fans attending games.
Should Davis still hold out for a five-year offer, even though it will be likely much lower than the $202 million he could have made? Or is he better off exercising his $28.7 million player option so that he could possibly earn more next summer?
It is not clear when Davis has to make that decision. Nor is it clear when the NBA will finalize its cap numbers.
How many of the Lakers’ potential free agents will they keep?
Can the Lakers keep most of the championship core? They might not have to do much to make that happen.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8.5 million), Avery Bradley ($5 million), JaVale McGee ($4.2 million) and Rajon Rondo ($2.6 million) all have player options, and neither party has any reason to want to opt out. They do not appear likely to make more money on the open market, and would be able to stay with a contending team.
On the other hand, Dwight Howard ($2.5 million), Jared Dudley ($2.5 million), Markieff Morris ($1.7 million), Dion Waiters ($503,656), JR Smith ($289,803) face uncertainty as pending unrestricted free agents. The Lakers will likely want to keep Dudley for his veteran leadership and Morris for his positional versatility. , Howard might want to play a bigger role next season. Waiters and Smith will make more money than they did last season since they were mid-season pickups, but the Lakers might have better shooting options.
How will LeBron James look next season?
LeBron James will turn 36 in December, and he will not face an offseason with questions about his future team. James remains under contract with the Lakers through the 2021-22 season.
But how will James look next season?
James’ dominant season was played while averaging a career-low 34.6 minutes per game in the regular season and a career-low 36.3 minutes in the playoff. Watch for James to increasingly ensure his workload is conserved and that Davis remains the team’s focal point, James will still master the art of striking a balance between being both a dominant scorer and passer.