By Austin Santiago
Published: February 6th, 2019
Anthony Davis wants out.
In the midst of the NBA season full of twists and turns, the New Orleans Pelicans star power forward has shaken the NBA landscape with an announcement that he wants to be traded and has no intention of re-signing with the team that drafted him first overall in the 2012 NBA draft.
Davis, who is the Pelicans’ all-time leader in points, rebounds, and blocks, is not free to sign with another team until the summer of 2020. However, with one year left on his five-year, $127 million contract, Davis is looking to still make the most amount of money possible without having to sign a max contract with New Orleans this coming summer.
Of course, money is only one of the reasons Davis wants out of the big easy as soon as possible, the other reason being that he is in the hunt for his first NBA championship. As Davis’s agent, Rich Paul, made clear in an official statement: “Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” two things that the Pelicans have simply not been able to offer the player they planned to build a dynasty around back in 2012.
After years of roster inconsistency, and mediocre playoff appearances, the only constant positive for New Orleans has been Davis, who has cemented himself as an elite NBA forward with legitimate MVP caliber play.
With this announcement, it seems like every NBA team is ready to partake in a bidding war for the superstar forward, however, many feel that Davis already has his eyes on what team he wants to bring his skillset to next.
In December, Lakers forward LeBron James told the media after a 112-104 win over the Pelicans that it would be “amazing” to play with Anthony Davis someday. The comments made by James caught fire as many felt he was tampering with Davis, considering he is still under contract with the Pelicans.
More fuel was added to the fire by the Pelicans organization after the team released a statement in regards to Davis’s decision.
“Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization’s top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and build our team for long-term success,” the team said. “Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our timeline. One that make sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.”
As if the tampering allegations weren’t controversial enough, the current collective bargaining agreement prohibits players or there agents from publicly requesting a trade. Davis has been fined $50,000 for his statement and an investigation has been opened by the NBA to rule out any more signs of tampering.
Of course, because Davis is still under contract with the Pelicans, the team has all of the leverage in regards to where he goes next. They can trade him to any team, or simply hold onto him, forcing him to sign as a free agent in 2020 and in doing so, lose roughly $80 million.
No matter what the Pelicans decide to do, many feel that it is only a matter of time before Davis heads to the west coast to wear the patented purple and gold to play alongside LeBron James.
Some within the NBA feel that Anthony joining the Lakers could create a bad precedent, and that he playing for the Lakers should avoided. NBA analyst and hall of fame forward Charles Barkley had this to say on the matter:
“I don’t like what the Lakers are doing. It’s a collusion!” he continued, “We cannot have players and agents colluding to stack super teams.”
Where Davis will play next is yet to be seen. Davis’s announcement came days before the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks after he voiced his frustrations with the team’s direction.
It appears a new discussion must be had between the NBA and its players regarding player freedoms, as well as protocol to prevent any future tampering.