His plans have become transparent for the last two months. Lakers forward Ed Davis will opt out of his $1.1 million option of hopes of a more lucrative deal in both years and salary.
But Davis stressed that he’s “not really out here to chase money” and considers the Lakers his top choice in free agency.
“Hopefully I’ll be back next year,” Davis said on Wednesday after having an exit meeting with Lakers coach Byron Scott and general manager Mitch Kupchak at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. “I think they want me back. With the draft and free agency, you never know how things go.”
Davis finished what he called “a solid year overall,” averaging 8.3 points on 60.1 percent shooting and a career-high 7.6 rebounds. Davis conceded frustration in sitting for three games because of a coach’s decision, leading him to also describe his season as “up and down.”
Yet after having a diminished role the previous two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies because of a bloated frontcourt in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Davis reported having a more enjoyable experience with the Lakers. Davis also praised Scott for “staying consistent with me” and staying even keel amid the Lakers’ dour season.
“I want to be in a great situation and somewhere I feel comfortable and somewhere where the team needs me and where I fit in,” Davis said. “For me, I think the year was somewhat expected. I just wanted to come out and really show this organization and teams around the league I can play.”
The Lakers want to keep Davis and are open to negotiate over his deal. But the Lakers will put more priority in filling out their roster through the NBA draft and marquee free agents. The Lakers also want to Davis to develop a mid-range game and improve his 48.7 percent mark from the foul line.
“I’m not going to try to turn my game into a stretch four,” Davis said. “But I definitely want to improve at the free throw line and try to shoot it in the mid 70’s and be a consistent mid-range shooter and just be able to hit open shots. I’m not going to change my game and try to be somebody that I’m not.”
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