After five long months, the Anthony Davis trade saga finally appears to be coming to an end, and the Los Angeles Lakers look like they might come out on top. However, things didn’t get to where they are without getting a little ugly first.
Shortly after Davis’ trade request leaked in January, the NBA fined him $50,000 because his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, went on the record and confirmed the rumor to ESPN. The league ruled that Paul’s comments were “an intentional effort to undermine the contractual relationship between Davis and the Pelicans.”
In a recent interview with S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated, Paul expressed regret for doing things the way he did, but he offered his reasoning for doing it:
Paul admits the situation got out of hand. (“Would I have wanted things to be handled a bit better? Absolutely.”) But he goes on to dump all blame on then Pels GM, Dell Demps. Because Paul insists his plan wasn’t to go public. He says that he first informed Demps on Jan. 25 of Davis’s intentions, and Demps responded that he’d confer with Benson and get back to him. (Demps did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) Instead, Paul says, Demps called Davis himself—and never got back to Paul. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had contacted him, Paul says, to confirm Davis’s demands.
“It was necessary to go public,” Paul says. “When I told you, ‘Here’s our intentions,’ and you say, ‘Hey, let me talk to ownership,’ and instead of you talking to ownership you call Anthony Davis? That’s called being ignored.” And trying to get between a player and his agent? “That’s a no-no,” Paul says. “Every GM knows that.”
Those kind of decisions by Demps, who’s no longer with the team, probably helped slam the door the rest of the way shut on the possibility of Davis returning to the organization. While that may be unfortunate for the team’s current executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, who tried to sell Davis on a revamped organization, it worked out for the Lakers.
Now, we just sit back and wait.