Anthony Davis signed a five-year contract extension with the Pelicans last season that will keep him in New Orleans until 2021, yet rumors about him potentially being traded are still flying around.
This time, however, it’s Davis adding fuel to the fire. Davis confirmed Pelicans general manager Dell Demps had received calls from the Celtics leading up to last season’s trade deadline, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. However, he said, he was assured by the franchise he wouldn’t be dealt.
"He told me that [Boston] was calling, but nothing was going to happen," Davis said. "At the same time, though, you see how organizations treat players. Isaiah Thomas. DeMarcus [Cousins] told me that the [Kings] told him that he wasn't going to get traded, but they traded him. Isaiah took his team to the Eastern Conference finals, and they traded him,” Davis said.
"It makes you wonder: Does this organization really have my back? I've been loyal to this organization. I love it here. I love this team. I think we're moving in the right direction. DeMarcus, Rondo, some other players that are helping us, but people get judged on winning. And I want to win.”
Davis being involved in trade rumors isn’t new, but him actively talking about, and even confirming, those rumors is. This is new territory for Davis, the Pelicans, and their fans.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Especially since Davis told NoLa.com that he doesn’t pay attention to trade rumors in August.
Davis took a decidedly diplomatic approach to the trade rumors: He says he loves New Orleans, but said he wants to win — something the Pelicans haven’t done. It didn’t sound like he’d be too upset if he were moved to a contender.
Rumors come and go, but these comments will stick with Davis for years to come. Those are typically the words of a superstar who knows he can be moved either by his own choice or by a choice the front office makes. A player firm into his commitment to a franchise generally doesn’t speak like this. Yet, Davis is still contractually obligated to the Pelicans for four more seasons.
It’s weird to see Davis taking such a diplomatic approach to trade rumors. Especially after his conversation with NoLa.com.
Davis was clearly worried about being traded at some point. Either something changed or what he initially said wasn’t true. Either way, his comments to ESPN are eye-popping.
Davis just signed his extension with the Pelicans two summers ago and is only in the second year of that extension. The Pelicans have absolutely no reason to trade him right now — especially with them being in the position to bring back Demarcus Cousins.
The big-man combination they’ve put together is working. Cousins and Davis are combining for 51.4 points, 22.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 3.5 blocks per game. That’s incredible production from just two players. The key is fitting all the right pieces around them to make things work.
The Pelicans have a small window to do that if Cousins leaves as a free agent, but Davis is locked in for the foreseeable future. No player they could trade for now or in a few seasons will be as good as Davis is today. He’s not being traded anytime soon.
Still, it’s an odd time for Davis to comment on these things. Is it a power move to push management to step their game up? Maybe. According to the article, both Rajon Rondo and Cousins have pushed Davis to wield his power as the franchise player more often.
But, no matter the reason, it’s opened new doors for rumors that aren’t closing anytime soon. And that can be a dangerous thing.