For the first time since requesting a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this week, Anthony Davis spoke to reporters about his future, and unfortunately, he didn’t do anything to fuel the Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors. In fact, he played it about as safe as he could.
After explaining to reporters why it was his time to leave the organization, Davis refuted any reports that he had a preferred destination (via Fletcher Mackel of WDSU):
“I never gave an [ultimatum]. Me or my representation never gave the Pelicans a destination or anything, so I’m not sure where that’s coming from, maybe the connection with my representation but we never gave the Pelicans a destination.”
It’s worth noting that Davis didn’t say he doesn’t have a preferred destination, he just hasn’t informed the Pelicans of one. That’s good news for the Lakers given the history of players that have made it known they’d like to play in Los Angeles.
Davis also said that it’s not his decision where he will play next, but he wanted to make it clear that his legacy is more important to him than money.
“I’ve heard that question before: legacy or money? I’m all about legacy. The money comes and goes. When I get done playing or leave this earth, what is my legacy going to be?”
What better way to build your legacy than to bring a championship to a historic franchise like the Lakers alongside one of the greatest players of all time? Kobe Bryant and Shaq have pretty decent legacies, as do Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Just saying, A.D.
As far as the trade request itself goes, Davis claims that he and his camp never intended for it to go public:
Anthony Davis says someone called a reporter and that reporter called Rich about it. “We never wanted it go public.”— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 1, 2019
After Paul privately told Demps on Friday that his client wouldn’t sign a contract extension with the Pelicans and wanted a trade, Paul publicly declared it on Monday -- with full knowledge that he’d have to pay a $50,000 fine on behalf of his client.
Regardless of who’s forcing the issue behind the scenes, Davis’ days in “The Big Easy” seem to be numbered, but it’s possible he hasn’t played his last game in a Pelicans uniform. Davis told reporters that once his finger heals, he plans to play:
“My intention is to play. I’ve been working to get my finger back healthy. Obviously, it’s a tough situation, but my intention is to still play. When I’m able to play, I plan on suiting up.”
He was also open to the idea of sitting out the rest of the season if the Pelicans can’t find a trade they like before the deadline on Feb. 7.
Anthony Davis on if the Pelicans want to hold him out: “They have every right to do that.”— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 1, 2019
Given that he’s already been taken out of the Pelicans’ pre-game hype video and the fact that him playing another game would make absolutely no sense for any party involved, the latter scenario seems more likely.
Davis said all of the right things and didn’t give Lakers fans any straws to grasp at, but that doesn’t change L.A.’s apparent interest in him. In less than a week, we’ll find out just how much of what Davis said was true.