In a move that was shocking to approximately no one, Anthony Davis informed the Pelicans today that he will not be signing his contract extension this summer and requested to be traded. Jalen Rose actually alluded to this back in September:
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 25, 2018
But fortune telling aside, there seems to be some behind the scenes maneuvering going on with this situation. As Jalen stated in the video, Davis joined the Klutch Sports Group just days before. The timing of this is all to convenient. Klutch Sports is run by Rich Paul who is an extremely close personal friend of LeBron James, who as we all know, joined the Los Angeles Lakers last summer. We also know that when LeBron joins a new team big roster changes are never far behind. Typically when James makes a move the new team is expected to compete for a championship immediately but his attitude hasn’t reflected that with this young Lakers group. He has made statements like “We got a long way to go to get to Golden State” and “I don’t believe the only thing of success in marking a season is winning a championship.” Those are strange words from a man who’s been “Championship or bust” for the past 8 seasons and is trying to cement himself as the Greatest Player of All Time. LeBron, and the rest of the collective basketball world, expected another big name free agent to join him in LA but Paul George stayed put in OKC, Kawhi was traded to Toronto and KD reupped with the Warriors. So I think with those pieces falling into place, LeBron set his sights on another prize knowing that he would have to wait to claim it. James has not been shy about admitting that he would love to play with Anthony Davis saying:
“That would be amazing. That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
LeBron and Anthony Davis also had dinner together after a Lakers-Pelicans game just a few days after this now seemingly cryptic comment. If you think they just talked about how good the filet mignon was at that dinner then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you. This story pretty much mirrors the culmination of the Heatles. Play together on the Olympic team, develop friendship, the only piece that’s missing is these two ending up in the same jersey.
So with all this apparent scheming and plotting, how has Anthony Davis to this point, escaped the public demonizing that nearly every other marquee player who has decided to leave their original team faced? I’ll tell you how. He’s being a gentleman about it. He’s giving his proverbial two weeks notice instead of storming in the bosses office screaming “I QUIT!!!”. Anthony Davis is having a mature conversation with his girlfriend, explaining to her that it’s not working and he wants to go their separate ways but still remain friends instead of suddenly breaking things off and showing up in public the next day with the girl he told her not to worry about. Like seriously, these players need to stop insulting our intelligence. If you’re genuinely conflicted about where you will sign then cool. But if you know, let somebody know something. Don’t string people along. Now don’t get me wrong, these idiot fans issuing death threats, calling people names online and insulting these guys’ families are bonafide morons. That is never acceptable. But the long, drawn out theatrics that has engulfed superstar free agency in recent years is exhausting.
I understand that you can’t make a formal announcement until a certain date but some of this can be tamed. The media is at fault as well. Reporters making wild claims without any real information. We all remember Chris Broussard and his multiple sources. Stephen A. Smith screaming guarantees about where players are going to sign. But at the end of the day if you know you are planning to leave, let it be known at the earliest point where it makes sense. That’s what Anthony Davis did and I’m sure the Pelicans appreciate him for it. Of course they would like to keep him but now, unless they can strike a deal in a week and a half, they have time to prepare for the storm instead of just waking up to a monsoon.
Time will tell if LA is the final destination for Davis but right now it looks like a master plan is well on it’s way to coming to fruition.