Despite what many believed was possible, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to create a max-contract slot when Anthony Davis decided to waive his trade kicker worth $4 million.
That move, combined with the Lakers dealing three contracts to the Washington Wizards as an extension of the original trade gives the Lakers around $32 million to spend, with Kawhi Leonard being the primary target.
The news of Davis waiving his trade kicker came as a surprise to many as it was basically free money. Regardless of how rich someone is, it is very difficult to envision someone turning down a free $4 million.
However, Davis isn’t like everyone else and he explained his reasoning behind waiving the kicker in an interview with Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times:
“Money comes and goes; your legacy is forever,” Davis said. “I think how you establish yourself in the NBA and what you do on and off the court is something that people will remember forever. Obviously, our money is public and people know what we make, but at the end of the day no one cares about how much money you make.”
Davis understands the most important part of someone’s legacy is their success on the court. Winning championships is what is remembered most — not money — and Davis knows that.
So far in his career, Davis has had limited playoff success, making just two appearances in seven seasons with only one series win. He believes that success is far more important than any amount of money:
“Anthony Davis is not going to be a great basketball player because of the amount of money he makes, it’s going to be about what he achieved on the court and also off the court. That’s all part of my legacy, and I think that’s way more valuable than any monetary value.”
The opportunity will be there for Davis to change his legacy in a big way. Though the Western Conference is shaping up to be extremely competitive, the Lakers are currently one of the favorites even if they aren’t able to land Kawhi Leonard.
Davis sounds as if he’s ready to put the NBA on notice and go to places he’s never been before. If he does so, he’ll be doing exactly as he hopes as far as his legacy is concerned.