LeBron James has New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry mad online. Following comments made by James saying he’d love to team up with Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers, Gentry shared his thoughts on the situation and, to no surprise, he wasn’t thrilled about it.
At shootaround on Friday, Gentry told reporters that, despite the league seeming to have ruled otherwise, he is sure that James tampered when he publicly stated that he’d “love” to play with Davis:
Alvin Gentry began his shootaround availability with “No we’re not trading him.” He said of course LeBron saying it’d be amazing if the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis was tampering. “So should we start having AD say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?’” pic.twitter.com/iIWFyHL7GT— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) December 21, 2018
In Gentry’s defense, it’s true that James commented on a player that is under contract, but he only did it because he was asked by a reporter. It’s not like he walked up to the media scrum and said “Good morning, I love Anthony Davis and I expect him to be on this team next summer. K thanks, bye.” While technically James’ comments were tampering, this has never been enforced with players before, so for the league to do so now would be unfair and precedent-less.
Secondly, who cares? Why should it matter that James expresses his desire to play with Davis, the most dominant big man in the league? I’m sure every player in the league was asked that question, they would give the same answer. For evidenced of that, here is Kyle Kuzma:
Asked about LeBron’s comments about Anthony Davis this week, Kyle Kuzma said, “Who wouldn’t want to play with him? I’m sure I would want to play with him too. He’s a top five player in the league. So Michael Jordan would probably want to play with him too.”— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 21, 2018
Unless James made a video, directed and produced by himself, outlining all of the reasons Davis should leave New Orleans and come to L.A., it’s unlikely the league will interfere. The same goes for every other player around the league, which is why Giannis Antetokounmpo can do things like this:
Giannis Antetokounmpo exiting Fiserv Forum, sees Anthony Davis in the hall. “Come to the Bucks, man,” Giannis says, smiling. “Come to the Bucks.” Both laugh. #recruiting— Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) December 20, 2018
Gentry has the right to be mad about the NBA’s loose definition of tampering and the possibility of losing his best player, but as someone who’s been in the league for 31 years, he should have known that penalizing James or the Lakers for this was never going to be a serious conversation.