The Los Angeles Lakers took care of business in October by winning their first NBA championship in a decade and 17th overall, but the work didn’t stop then. In the months since, they’ve locked Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Kyle Kuzma into contracts.
Of the three, Davis is the key since he could easily be playing for another six or seven years after James has retired. So, the Lakers were being as wise with their investments as Davis is with his. That’s because the ninth-year pro would prefer clanging two free throws in the closing seconds of a Game 7 over spending hard-earned money frivolously – unless it’s on cars.
A key piece is staying with the Los Angeles Lakers
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Few people believed that Anthony Davis was going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers under any circumstance, but the recent developments made it all but certain that he was staying.
Davis came to the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason in a three-team trade that also included the Washington Wizards. The deal cost the Lakers plenty because Brandon Ingram is already star material, and De’Andre Hunter, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart are all valuable complementary pieces. Surrendering a pile of draft picks in the complicated trade only added to the Lakers’ urgency in re-signing Davis.
On Nov. 16, 2020, Davis declined the fifth-year option for $28.75 million from his previous contract with the Pelicans. But exploring other options in free agency wasn’t part of his plan. Instead, Davis turned around and agreed to $189.9 million over five years with the Lakers, according to Spotrac.com.
Anthony Davis is the future of the franchise
There was some criticism of the 2020 NBA Most Valuable Player balloting because Giannis Antetokounmpo easily outdistanced LeBron James in first-place votes, 85-16, on his way to earning the honor. But if anyone had a right to second-guess the voting, it would have been sixth-place finisher Anthony Davis.
Davis averaged 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds for the world champions to 25.3 and 7.8, respectively, for James. In fairness, James led the NBA in assists and logged a lot of minutes for a 35-year-old player. But Davis is a top-flight defender who meant at least as much to the Lakers as third-place finisher James Harden meant to the also-ran Houston Rockets.
The good news for Davis is that what the Lakers are investing in him clearly signals that he is the player they are preparing to build around post-LeBron.
Anthony Davis will keep a close eye on all that money
Anthony Davis’ career earnings will exceed $300 million by the time his new contract expires in 2025, at which time he can land another monster-sized deal. It’s doubtful that he’ll even need that next contract based on how well he learned to hang on to what he earned in his early years in the NBA.
Earlier this year, Davis signed an endorsement deal with First Entertainment Credit Union and sat for an interview in which he discussed managing his finances. It sometimes involves relying upon an adviser to balance out his parents.
“I’m a big car guy. I love cars,” Davis explained. “My mom really don’t care. Get her excited, ‘Oh, have fun, spend your money, it’s your life.’ Fathers, on the other hand … I’m like, ‘I wanna get that new car, I’m about to get this Lamborghini truck.’ And he’s like, ‘Aaah, no. You have seven cars already.’”
That’s where the adviser usually steps in to prod Davis to pump the figurative brakes on an idea.
“If you don’t have people like that in your life, you can kind of go crazy and spend millions of dollars on unnecessary things,” Davis said.
Being told not to spend his own money has made it easier for Davis to turn down others with big plans – even his own mother.
“The first time I told my mom, ‘No’ … (I) looked at her face. It was staggering for me, but she got over it after a couple hours. I was, like, ‘Oh, she’s good.’ Now it’s easy. Now she’s, like, ‘Hey, son …’ And I’m like, ‘No.’ I know she’ll get over it. The thing is, you have to say no. And it’s tough, especially with your family.”