Before the NBA’s wildest free agency period ever began, Anthony Davis and agent Rich Paul did right by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis waived his $4 million trade kicker from the blockbuster deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in order to give the Lakers a max-contract slot.
Initially, that money was all supposed to go towards the chase of Kawhi Leonard. However, when Leonard turned down the Lakers in favor of their Staples Center co-tenant the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers had $32 million worth of cap space to spend on role players.
According to Paul — who is one of the league’s most well-known agents — Davis waived the trade kicker because he knew that doing that was the best move for the team, according to Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead:
“Anthony wanted to do what’s best for the team. They had to create cap space knowing that [when] they went out to get him that the depth chart would be pretty scarce. Here we are again as athletes. You can’t have it both ways. The media says well you know what? If you want all your money you’re greedy.”
Paul continued his criticism of the media while also saying that Davis is hungry to get back into the playoffs, something he’s only done twice in his illustrious seven-year career:
“Or when you want more money than they think you’re worth, they say you’re greedy,” he continued. “When you want to take less, like in this case he wanted to do what was best for the team because he’s only been in the playoffs two years.”
The Lakers, despite not getting Leonard, filled out the roster extremely well. They used that opened cap space on Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, DeMarcus Cousins, and Avery Bradley while signing Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley, and Troy Daniels to minimum deals.
It seems the Lakers have done right by Davis in return for him waiving his trade kicker. They’ve surrounded him with a team full of capable veterans who can defend, shoot the three ball, and be positive locker room people.
Paul is also right that Davis would’ve been criticized no matter what he decided to do with his trade kicker. Keep it and he’s likely called selfish and not a team player. Decline it and he’s not maximizing the amount of money he can make. It’s a vicious cycle but at the end of the day, winning a championship will prove it was all worth it.