EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Two decades into his NBA career, a trophy shelf outgrown by all his accomplishments, LeBron James Sounds ready to pass the torch to a teammate Anthony Davis As the leader of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“That face [of the franchise]James told ESPN at the Lakers’ annual media day on Monday [retired] The numbers around this facility, all the greats that have been here and AD is one of them.”
Heading into the offseason, James and Davis’ contracts ran concurrently — both players had final-year contract options to remain in LA through the 2024-25 season.
Davis pushed past James’ timeline in August, however, signing a three-year, $186 million max extension to keep him with the purple and gold through 2028. At the time of the deal, it was the most lucrative annual contract extension in league history, averaging $62 million per season.
“I was very, very happy and very proud,” James told ESPN when asked about Davis’ deal. It would be a bummer to see him get this extension after years of being a part of his franchise. And it’s been a treat to play with him so far and I hope we can do some great things.”
As the four-time MVP joined the Lakers, James publicly lobbied for LA to acquire Davis. The Lakers meshed the two perfectly in their first season after acquiring Davis in a 2019 trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
They capped their first season with a championship in the NBA bubble in 2020 in Orlando, Florida. The same level of success did not follow, with LA losing in the first round in 2021 and failing to qualify for the 2022 postseason entirely due to injuries. Davis and others took their toll.
But Davis and the Lakers enjoyed a resurgent run to the Western Conference finals in the spring, with the eight-time All-Star posting career bests in field goal percentage (56.3) and rebounds (12.5) of 25.9 points and 2.0 blocks per game. the game the game
However, when a reporter asked directly if his new contract made him feel like it was his team now, Davis didn’t engage in the line of questioning.
“I think it’s the Lakers team, and I play for the Lakers,” Davis said bluntly.
There’s no understating Davis’ importance to the team — whether or not it comes with the unofficial title as the face of the franchise — and he’s stepped up.
“I think I’m going to be the second-oldest guy here now so the guys are leaning on me a lot,” said Davis, 30. “I think it’s my responsibility, one of the leaders on the team with Bronn. It’s my job to help these guys and help the young guys and constantly be with them. Let them know what we need and what we need to get better. And give them advice so that We can all come together and come together to be able to compete for a championship.”
Davis, who missed 26 games last season with a foot injury, said his “body feels good” heading into training camp and that he maintains the same goal as last season of being on the court as much as possible.
“My goal is to play 82 games every year [games]”, Davis said. “And I didn’t do anything different [this summer]. I took some time off. Back in the lab and I’m ready to start. Nothing has changed. Every year you want to come out of every game and give your team a chance to win. Especially with my role, I know it’s a big part of this team and having me on the floor, it definitely helps us.”