Gilbert Arenas lived on $400 monthly budget during time with Warriors

Brian Witt
NBC Sports BayArea

Gilbert Arenas' NBA career did not begin as he imagined it would, and in a way, that brought about a premature end to his time with the Warriors.

In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Leo Sepkowitz, Arenas recounted his rollercoaster career as a professional basketball player, from his time entering the NBA with Golden State all the way to now as a "rookie" in the BIG3. When asked a question about his NBA rookie salary, Arenas described the series of poor decisions that led to him living on a budget well below what one would expect for an NBA player.

Back in 2001, Arenas declared for the NBA draft after two productive years at the University of Arizona. He expected to be a first-round pick, so much so that he began spending the money he assumed he would soon be getting in annual salary. 

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"I bought my chain, bought my Escalade with the five TVs and the stereo system," Arenas told Sepkowitz, who noted the audio equipment alone cost about $60,000 and the chain another $40,000.

The problem was, Arenas wasn't a first-round draft pick.

He fell out of the first round entirely, and with the first pick of the second round, No. 31 overall, Golden State selected the dynamic combo guard. As a result, his salary was around $330,000 annually. That might seem like a lot to the average individual, but the damage to Arenas' bank account had been done. Consequently, he told Sepkowitz, he was on a monthly spending budget of just $400.

"Imagine trying to be an NBA player for $400 per month," Arenas said. "Try going on a date in the middle of the month with $100 left. I got gas, I had two dogs and a girlfriend at the time. There was no date night! It was horrible."

To get by, Arenas rented a small house and hoarded meals offered on the team plane. It wasn't a sustainable lifestyle, and as a result, he sought a huge payday -- one larger than what Golden State could offer.

With some clever maneuvering under the salary cap (that has since been outlawed), the Wizards essentially stole Arenas right out from under the Warriors' nose. Washington offered the restricted free agent an offer sheet for about $8.5 million, which Arenas promptly signed. Golden State could only offer him a first-year salary for about $4.9 million using the Early Bird exception, and therefore, the Warriors were unable to match.

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Arenas went on to become a three-time All-Star with the Wizards. Had he been more frugal, or simply not spent money he didn't have, one wonders what he could have accomplished in Golden State.

Gilbert Arenas lived on $400 monthly budget during time with Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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