The New Orleans Pelicans are set to offer All-Star forward Anthony Davis a lucrative maximum deal.

ESPN’s Marc Stein first broke the news on April 26, citing league sources who told him the Pelicans are going to dangle a five-year deal “that could exceed $140 million.”

This development simply means if you have a player of Davis’ caliber, you keep him for the long haul.

Davis is on his way to becoming the face of the Pelicans for the foreseeable future. And it’s a good time to do this considering all he has done is improve every year in virtually every statistical category.

Consider his following stats, per ESPN:

  • 2012-13: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, .1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG, .516 FG PCT., .751 FT PCT.
  • 2013-14: 20.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, .2.8 BPG, , 1.3 SPG, .519 FG PCT., .791 FT PCT.
  • 2014-15: 24.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, .2.9 BPG, 1.5 SPG, .535 FG PCT., .805 FT PCT.

What’s next for Davis? Thirty points to go along with 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks per game? With his athleticism and versatility, this could very well be possible.

Stein also stresses Davis is just the fourth player in NBA history after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bob McAdoo to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in their first four postseason games.

That is definitely elite company.

That’s why the New Orleans Pelicans are going to pay him big money.

Stating a case for and against Davis’ maximum offer ought to give us an idea if the Pelicans are doing the right thing.

 

New Orleans Pelicans To Offer Anthony Davis 5-Year, $140 Million Contract, Per ESPN’s Marc Stein

ESPN’s Marc Stein revealed on Sunday the New Orleans Pelicans going to offer two-time NBA All-Star Anthony Davis a five-year deal which could be more than $140 million:

With star forward Anthony Davis eligible for a contract extension this summer, Pelicans officials plan to be as aggressive as possible in presenting him with a maximum five-year deal that could exceed $140 million, according to league sources.

The exact figures will depend on how much the NBA salary cap rises in 2016, but sources told ESPN.com that the Pelicans indeed intend to present Davis with the biggest offer they can once the window for negotiations opens July 1.

The Pelicans would then have until Oct. 31 to convince Davis to sign a five-year deal that makes him their designated player.

And thanks to the league’s most recent salary-cap projections—which will spike dramatically when money starts flowing in from the NBA’s new nine-year, $24 billion TV deal that kicks in starting with the 2016-17 season—Davis is on course to be presented with a five-year offer that will eventually top $30 million annually and potentially stray north of the $140 million mark in total value.

If Davis signs the five-year extension, it would also start in 2016-17 and run through his 28th birthday.

Davis, of course, would have the option of signing a shorter extension with the Pelicans to preserve some flexibility in his future options in free agency.

When The New Orleans Times Picayune’s John Reid asked Davis last week about his sentiments about an impending contract extension, the latter answered in a business-like manner.

“It’s a business, so whether this July or next July or the Julys down the road, it’s going to come up,” Davis told Reid. “When that time comes, you are going to have to deal with it and make some tough decisions.”

 

The Case For Anthony Davis’ Maximum Deal

As stated earlier, Davis has steadily increased his yearly regular-season statistics every year since the Pelicans (then the New Orleans Hornets) drafted him in 2012. And let’s not forget, Davis has led the NBA in blocks for the past two seasons, averaging almost three per game during that span, per ESPN stats.

He has almost doubled his scoring average from the time to he was a rookie in 2012-13 to the current 2014-15 NBA season (13.5 PPG to 24.4 PPG). The good thing about Davis is not he is just a low-post threat. He can also stick that outside jumper if you dare him.

Plus he’s never shot lower than 51.6 percent in a season. That is hard evidence of his great shot selection and his overall efficiency on the offensive end. Just about the only thing lacking from his arsenal is a consistent three-point shot.

If he had that, he would be invincible.

Davis isn’t too shabby on the glass, either, with his 9.5 rebounds-per-game average. He and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo are arguably the most athletic, spindly-shaped players in the NBA. It sure would be fun to watch those two go at it.

And let’s not forget, Davis made a great first impression during the Pelicans’ premature first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. His playoff averages (31.5 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.0 BPG) are right up there with the likes of Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain and McAdoo.

That being said, the 22-year-old Davis could very well be a legend in the making who is capable of leading the Pelicans to an NBA title in the near future. If you have somebody like Davis, a once-in-a-lifetime two-way player of unbelievable athleticism, you have to lock him to a long-term deal as soon as you get the chance.

 

 

The Case Against Anthony Davis’ Maximum Deal 

There is no doubt Davis is an immense talent from a statistical perspective. However, can he stay healthy?

Davis has never completed an 82-game season. The most number of games he has played in is 68 in 2014-15, per ESPN stats.

If you’re playing in the NBA, protection against injury is never an assurance. Just ask franchise players such as Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, who have all missed significant time this past season due to an assortment of injuries.

If you think about it, you can’t fault Davis for not being able to complete a season in spite of his tender age: He always goes all out. And when you always go all out, you are at risk of getting injured.

From the Pelicans’ perspective, they have to be wary of showing the money to an unbelievable but injury-prone player such a Davis. If you look at things from his point of view, he ought to take the possibility of playing all 82 games yearly as a challenge.

New Orleans also has to consider the amount they’re dangling in light of the proposed new salary cap.

In a separate ESPN update regarding the NBA salary cap shooting to as much as $89 million in 2016-17, Davis’ maximum deal would eat up approximately 36 percent of New Orleans’ salary cap. This is assuming he earns an estimated $32 million that year.

For the remaining $57 million, New Orleans must surround Davis with the best possible talent without going over the luxury tax threshold.

According to HoopsHype.com, only three Pelicans (Tyrke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter) are signed through 2016-17. Davis has a qualifying offer worth $6.1 million that year, but we all know that could very well change when the news of his mammoth deal broke out this weekend.

Since Davis’ contract will eat up a huge chunk of the Pelicans’ 2016-17 salary cap (the near equivalent of two franchise players today), New Orleans general manager Dell Demps must make sure he provides head coach Monty Williams with top-notch talent with whatever amount he has left.

 

The Final Say

Twenty-two-year-old New Orleans Pelicans phenom Anthony Davis is about to strike it rich with an impending five-year, $140 million deal.

And why not? He has worked hard to get to where he is right now: Very few NBA players can boast of the combined athleticism and on-court savvy he has. Judging form his yearly stats, he is truly a great two-way player who is only going to get better.

The only thing that is really holding him back is the assortment of injuries he’s had since he broke into the pro ranks three years ago. The Hornets aren’t going to get the best value for their maximum offer for him if he won’t be able to suit up in all 82 games on a yearly basis.

The other possible issue is that of the salary cap. Although it is projected to go up annually, Davis’ salary will eat up an estimated 36 percent of the Pelicans’ cap in 2016-17, the first year of his max offer.

Granted, the Pelicans have more money to spend. However, signing Davis to an offer that big could possibly limit the Hornets’ options in terms of surrounding him with the talent they need to make a run for the NBA title.

For now, the challenge for Davis is to stay healthy, continue to get better and lead New Orleans to the Promised Land. He will get the money he deserves, but he has to show everybody he’s worth every penny.

 

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all stats are current as of April 27 and are courtesy of ESPN while all salary information is provided by HoopsHype.com.

 

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