There was already a report earlier this week that Los Angeles Lakers trade target Anthony Davis might not see the Boston Celtics as the most desirable trade destination, but it was sourced anonymously, which always calls somewhat into question how reliable information is.
Well, it seems we don’t have to wonder how true that tidbit of info is anymore, because Ramona Shelburne of ESPN just got Davis’ father — Anthony Davis Sr. — to confirm it on the record on SportsCenter:
Shelburne’s post followed up with more clarity, including that Davis Sr. said he doesn’t speak for his son:
”This is just my opinion, not Anthony’s,” he said. “I’ve just seen things over the years with Boston and there’s no loyalty.”
Still, it would seem that Danny Ainge’s history of treating players like day-trading stocks instead of people might have finally come back to bite him, and in spectacular fashion too.
And before anyone compares this to Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka shipping out D’Angelo Russell or not making much of an effort to keep Julius Randle, having issues with two players with one specific agent is going to be viewed very differently by stars around the NBA than convincing a franchise star (Thomas) to play injured while going through the death of his sister and then unceremoniously shipping him out for the next shiny thing to come along.
How Ainge and company treated Thomas was incredibly cold, and even if in simple talent terms it was the “right” decision, human relationships are more complicated than that and it would seem Boston not caring much about relationship capital finally came back to bite them. Through Kobe Bryant’s gargantuan extension coming off of an Achilles tear and other, smaller actions, the Lakers have shown how they treat players that sacrifice to earn a spot in their franchise’s lore. Some critics haven’t always agreed with some of their player-first when they didn’t result in immediate bottom-line results, but situations like this are where you see that type of approach pay its dividends.
And before anyone says “WhAt AbOuT dAvIs’ LoYaLtY tO tHe PeLiCaNs?”, here is an example of how New Orleans hasn’t always demonstrated the same sort of loyalty to Davis, even if they weren’t directly interacting with him:
Best teammate he ever had tore his Achilles and they wouldn't even return his phone calls in July. https://t.co/HgeCq2iJkT— Phillip Barnett (@regularbarnett) February 2, 2019
There was also them not paying to keep beloved teammate Rajon Rondo after he was a huge key to their unexpected playoff upset of the Portland Trail Blazers last season — I wonder where he is now?
With Kyrie Irving now being cryptic about whether or not he’ll re-sign in Boston combined with Davis Sr. saying stuff like this — even while noting that he says he doesn’t speak for his son — Ainge might be more hesitant to offer his best stuff to the Pelicans for Davis and risk being left with nothing.
Boston stepping back would be a massive blow to the New Orleans Pelicans’ leverage, and with each development, it would seem more and more likely by the hour that they’re forced to either take a lesser deal out of spite, ship Davis to the Lakers, or run the serious risk of losing him for nothing.