- Marc Stein, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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NEW ORLEANS -- With star forward Anthony Davis eligible for a contract extension this summer, Pelicans officials plan to be aggressive as possible in presenting him with a maximum five-year deal that could approach $140 million, according to league sources.
The exact figures will depend on how much the NBA salary cap deal actually rises, 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.
Davis, 22, just joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bob McAdoo as the only players in league history to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in his first four NBA playoff games. The Pelicans' season ended Saturday night with a sweep-clinching home loss to Golden State, but the Pelicans surprised many pundits by beating the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on the final day of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 45-37 record.
Because Davis was elected by the fans to start in February's All-Star Game, and since he is expected to earn All-NBA first team status when voting results are announced in coming days, New Orleans can start his max deal at 30 percent of the league's salary cap as opposed to a mere 25 percent.
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 can thus be presented with a five-year pact that will eventually top $30 million annually and potentially approach $140 million 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 terms of keeping his future free-agent options open.
With star forward Anthony Davis eligible for a contract extension this summer, Pelicans officials plan to present him with a maximum five-year deal that could approach $140 million, sources said.