Russell Westbrook vs LeBron James vs Anthony Davis: What Will the Lakers Trio be Paid for 2021-22 Season?

Published 08/22/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
May 25, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with teammates against the Phoenix Suns during the first half in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Lakers, following a string of highly debated acquisitions this free agency, have shot right up as the favorites out West. L.A took apart their roster, rounding up veterans relatively past their prime yet chasing a ring. And while it hasn’t come cheap, GM Rob Pelinka came through on his vow to land a superstar this offseason.

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However, its gonna cost the LakeShow some serious money! With James and Davis already anchoring the cap space prior to the Westbrook trade, the franchise is now manoeuvring over a 120-million $, in the contracts of their newly built Big 3. And while this meant that they could only pursue talent offering up veteran minimum deals, James, Davis and Russ have got themselves an all-star crew!

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While L.A. is currently knee deep into the luxury tax bracket, governor Jeanie Buss won’t seem to mind, especially if the Lakers bring home banner number 18!

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Currently at a $152-million, the Purple and Gold are still bearing the dead cap, servicing Luol Deng’s final payment this season.

Lakers Big 3 cashing in

Point guard acquisition Russell Westbrook will earn the biggest bucks on the Lakers, in the penultimate year of a contract that began in Houston! L.A. had to create cap space for Russ, trading away KCP, Trez and Kuzma, especially given Westbrook’s salary.

Set to earn approximately $44.2-million over the 2020-21 season, Westbrook headlines L.A’s salary cap. His earnings are set to increase further in 2022-23, to over 47-million in the final year before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

LeBron James, the leader of this group will enter his 4th year as a Laker, in the process earning over $41.2-million in 2021-22. Having led the franchise to a record tying 17th title in the Orlando Bubble, re-signing James (still likely a Top 5 player today) was a no-brainer!

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James at 36 years old, signed a 2-yr extension that will also fetch him over 44.5-million next season, before he enters free agency, presumably for the final time! Finally, given that the King has openly expressed his desire to end his career as a Laker, what is Pelinka’s game plan from here on out?

Longterm Laker

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Lastly, Anthony Davis, set to earn over $35.3 million this season will have a point to prove, given his shambolic performance last season. While there’s no question whether AD is a Top PF when healthy, the “when” seemed like a far fetched dream last season.

However, with a change in regime, Davis is pencilled in for a big splash this season. Entering just the 2nd year of a 5-yr $190-million contract, AD will remain with L.A. until the 2024-25 free agency. Will the performances this season justify the big bucks following a form slump last year? There’s only 1 way to find out.

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Can the Purple and Gold turn their fortunes with their latest group of all-stars? With the NBA fraternity divided over whether the Lakers are an old team vs a super-team, this is their shot to silence the noise.

WATCH THIS STORY: From Nike to Liverpool FC: LeBron James’ Best Investments That Made Him a Billionaire

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Nikhil Naik

170 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

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