– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
Let the latest wild goose chase to land the next disgruntled NBA superstar begin anew!
The Unibrow, New Orleans Pelicans superstar center Anthony Davis, has asked the New Orleans Pelicans to trade him “to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, reportedly told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in a report on Monday morning. Given the struggles the Pelicans have had this season, currently losers of five of their last six and five games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, this was to be expected — though that did not mean that alarm bells did not sound off across the league, which they sure did.
Davis has a player option on his contract that allows him to become a free agent after the 2020 season, though it’s been reported that Davis let the Pelicans know that he will not sign a contract extension. Essentially, Davis has virtual veto power over any potential trades in being able to decide which possible teams that he would want to sign an extension…or not. For New Orleans, they are stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place, knowing that a trade must happen or risk the possibility of losing one of the franchise’s best-ever player — if not their best-ever player, period — for nothing in free agency after next season.
This request is the latest gut punch to the Pelicans in the past six months, when things seemed to look bright after their in-season acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins and, at the end of last season, its four-game demolition of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Cousins tore his Achilles and eventually joined the Golden State Warriors, breaking up the dynamic duo inside that never really got a chance to reach its full potential.
Wasn’t the no-call on the pass interference in the NFC Championship Game enough misery for New Orleans sports fans to take for one month?
Outside of Davis’ trade request, the biggest news is which team will land the prized All-Star. All signs point to the Lakers, given that Davis’ agent, Paul, is also the agent of LeBron James, who has been so secretive in his desire to land Davis that he went out to dinner with Davis after a game between their respective teams last month. While the Lakers borderline openly flout with league tampering rules, the team that also has a vested interested in acquiring Davis, the Boston Celtics, are restricted from officially pursuing Davis until July, when Kyrie Irving’s rookie deal runs out and he becomes a free agent. (The little-known “Rose Rule” basically bars teams from acquiring multiple high-performing players while still on their rookie contracts via trade, something the Celtics already did once when acquiring Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers before last season.)
However this saga ends, the posturing going on before an actual trade may be more scintillating than when the trade finally happens. It’s showtime! (The phrase, not the Lakers nickname. Don’t want to be accused of tampering, myself!)