Early Monday morning — and I mean early Monday morning — Anthony Davis sent shockwaves throughout the NBA when he and his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports informed the New Orleans Pelicans that after seven years, their professional relationship had ran its course.
While most people could come to the conclusion that the timing of his trade request meant that he was angling for a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis and his camp didn’t list the Lakers — or any other team — as a preferred destination like Kawhi Leonard did last summer and Paul George did two summers ago. However, that could change very soon.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Paul and Davis plan to make it known that they will only make a long-term commitment with the Lakers:
After agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told ESPN on Monday that he had informed the Pelicans that Davis wouldn’t sign an extension this summer and wanted a trade, multiple league sources expect the agent and star to soon deliver word throughout the league that Davis’ preferred destination is the Lakers and he’ll become a rental player until 2020 with a trade anywhere else.
It would be an attempt to depress offers in the marketplace, a way to perhaps make the Lakers’ trade package more appealing.
To some extent, that’s good news. We will soon have concrete evidence that Davis has interest in the Lakers. But what if doing so actually has an opposite effect?
As previously mentioned, both George and Leonard went the “we won’t sign anywhere but L.A.” route when they made their trade requests and while that might still be true for Leonard, who will hit unrestricted free agency this summer, it wasn’t for George. In fact, leaking that he preferred to be traded to Los Angeles might actually be the reason George isn’t in a Lakers uniform.
You see, once teams like the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs are confronted with the cruel reality that most All-Star players want to play in a big market like L.A., they become jaded and look at other destinations like Toronto and Oklahoma City, for example. Combine that with the very human response to not give the star what he wants after he scorns you, and, well, it starts to make sense George, Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving have all wound up in cities other than their initial preference.
While initial reports suggest that the Pelicans are willing to engage in trade talks with the Lakers, that could change once Davis makes it publicly known that’s where he wants to end up.
Then again, Davis isn’t represented by Aaron Mintz or his uncle. This is Rich Paul and LeBron James, two of the most powerful men in the NBA, we’re talking about — and two of the league’s absolute closest friends. We might have seen this script before, but not with this director. If there are any two people that can force A.D. to L.A., it’s them.
Now it’s on the Lakers to do their part and, judging by what has been reported so far, they absolutely plan to. Buckle up, Lakers fans — these next 10 days are going to be something.