LeBron James may be used to the NBA Finals, but his superstar teammate is not. Before joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony Davis never advanced past the second round. So dissatisfied was he with his fortunes as a New Orleans Pelican that he forced a trade to the Lakers in order to facilitate a partnership with LeBron. The goal, specifically, was to reach this point.
"I knew what I wanted," Davis told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. "I wanted what he had," pointing to James. If Davis has his way, this won't be the last Finals trip he makes with LeBron. "You see the work and preparation LeBron puts in every day, and you understand why this is his 10th NBA Finals appearance. He never stops. I plan to follow this motherf---er to hopefully nine more Finals."
Now, let's get the obvious out of the way: this is extremely wishful thinking. James is 35. He probably won't be leading a team in the NBA Finals at the age of 44. This quote, ironically, feels like the one James infamously dropped at his introductory celebration with the Miami Heat, when he promised to win "not five, not six, not seven" championships. He's joking, but there are relevant grains within that.
As an impending free agent, Davis has not made any commitments on his future and has played coy about it when asked by reporters. The expectation was always that he'd return to Los Angeles, especially after reaching the Finals. Considering what the Lakers gave up to get him, this should be a major sigh of relief.
The Lakers may not have nine more Finals trips with James and Davis ahead of them, but as long as James remains in the MVP conversation, they should have a chance to reach a few more. The Lakers will have avenues for improvement this offseason and have very little money committed to salaries beyond next season. They are fairly flexible for a possible champion, yet they already have their two superstars in place. James and Davis won't reach 10 Finals appearances, but if they stay together they should be in the running for at least a few more.