Anthony Davis made this request with his current contract expiring at the end of the following season, meaning whichever team would’ve traded for him would have been taking a chance if he didn’t re-sign.
Well Anthony Davis totally handicapped the New Orleans Pelicans by making it publicly known that he had no intention of signing with any team that was not the Los Angeles Lakers.
This obviously made the New Orleans Pelicans very upset, specifically GM at the time Dell Demps. Demps made it his business not to grant AD his wishes, and in the process made the Los Angeles Lakers look like fools by leaking every single detail of the trade to the media. What ensued was total distrust from the Lakers young pieces, which were an integral part of the proposed trade, and could be a reason Magic Johnson resigned from the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer.
While many in front offices are growing weary of this shift of power to players getting whatever they want, whenever they want it, not many are willing to speak out. That is until Steve Kerr spoke about it on Warriors Insider Podcast.
“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation. Where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with,” Kerr said. “When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans. And then (once the contract runs out) it’s completely your right to leave as a free agent. But if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract.”
Steve Kerr mentioned how Lebron James and Kevin Durant both played out their contracts before leaving their current teams for their desired destination. Well, Durant and LeBron also left both franchises (Cavaliers and Thunder) in a much worse position than when those players were there. While it’s still early, that’s not the immediate conclusion for the Pelicans following AD’s departure.
While I am not a proponent of what Anthony Davis did, one could argue he did the Pelicans as much of a favor, as they did him by shipping him to his desired destination. The Pelicans got a HAUL for Anthony Davis. They received three good, young players in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. They also received the number four overall pick, which they parlayed into Jaxson Hayes, and Nikel Alexander-Walker.
In theory, Anthony Davis could have just kept quiet, and waited until his contract was up. But that would have left the Pelicans with receiving nothing in return. Instead, one could apply the addition by subtraction theory to the Pelicans and argue they’re better this year, without AD than they were last year with him.
Nonetheless, players have more power than ever, and by flexing that power you certainly can make a case that the players are helping the franchise they’re demanding to leave.
Another example is Paul George.
George was a free agent one season ago, instead of going to LA like many people thought he would he ended up re-signing with the OKC Thunder. This past offseason he then demanded a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, the result? The largest haul of draft picks ever involved in a trade.
So yes Steve, Paul George would have used his free agency to leave OKC, but instead, he left them in a FAR better position with six additional picks by doing what you think is bad for the league.