Is a blockbuster, player-heavy deal in the offing? As of now, league sources told The Vertical that isn’t the case. Boston – everyone, really – would love to get its hands on Anthony Davis. But Davis is tied to a manageable contract through 2021, and the Pelicans appear committed to giving the Davis-DeMarcus Cousins pairing a full season together.
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Struggles by the New Orleans Pelicans this season won’t affect Anthony Davis’ long-term commitment to the franchise, he said Thursday. “Look, I’m here. If I was thinking about leaving, I’d never re-sign [last summer]. I’m here to stay,” Davis told ESPN Radio’s Meet The All-Stars show that will air Saturday night (5:30 p.m. ET).
Struggles by the New Orleans Pelicans this season won’t impact Anthony Davis’ long-term commitment to the franchise, he said Thursday. “Look, I’m here. If I was thinking about leaving, I’d never re-sign [last summer]. I’m here to stay,” Davis told ESPN Radio’s “Meet The All-Stars” show that will air Saturday night (5:30 p.m. ET).
“I’m here to help this team win [and] put this franchise back on the map,” Davis said Thursday.
“I don’t plan on leaving, so make sure you write that down,” Davis said when asked about trade speculation.
Another questioner asked Davis about an Internet rumor speculating that he and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook could eventually join forces with the Lakers in Los Angeles, where his agent, Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group is based. “I don’t pay attention to (the rumors),” Davis said. “I don’t know who said it or how it came about. I’m with the Pelicans right now.”
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry laughed at those who would believe they might pry AD away from NOLA. “No,” said Gentry. “Let me tell you, I learned a long time ago — and this is my 28th year in the league — that you don’t trade great for good, no matter how many you get. Having one great player really makes your team better than having three good players. And they’ve proven that. I can go all the way back to the Charles Barkley trade (from Philadelphia to Phoenix for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry) and the Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) trade (from Milwaukee with Walt Wesley to the Lakers for Dave Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and Len Elmore).
“Obviously it’s a franchise-defining moment really,” said Gentry, who signed on with the Pelicans after winning a ring as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. “You get one of the five best players in the league, in my opinion, for sure who’s saying that ‘I want to be in New Orleans.’ He could have easily waited and become a free agent. He’s saying he wants to be in New Orleans, and he sees a future there. Now, I think, for us, we’ve just got to surround him with the proper people, because he’s locked in. He wants to have success and he wants to win and he wants to be able to do it in New Orleans. I think that says a lot for our franchise, and it says a lot about him.”
It says that he wasn’t going with the trend that has seen stars sign on to create a wagon (LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami) or join one (Kevin Durant to Golden State). “I think he’s a little bit different in that respect,” said Gentry of Davis. “I’m telling you, he’s a loyal, loyal guy. He’s a very loyal guy, He’s just a treat to coach, because you can coach him just like you coach anybody else, and he accepts that. And the thing for me that’s so defining about him is that, when we lose, he always looks at himself first and says, ‘What could I have done better? How could I help us win?’ He’ll even text me and say, ‘What should I have done better tonight?’ To be able to have a guy in a situation like that that you’re able to coach, you might be lucky to have a guy like that once.”
Around Davis, those inquiring about potential displeasure – even as far as a potential trade – are met by a strong-willed, loyal star committed to the franchise. “My desire to win here is the same,” Davis told The Vertical. “I go out there and play. I don’t care what the record is. I just go out there and play. I have to lead this team and make sure my guys are always happy and high energy. I don’t care what people say about our team. They’re not in our locker room seeing us, not part of our group. That’s all white noise. I just try to control what I can: go out there and compete.”
But I’m told the Celtics at this point are only interested in potential “game changers” on the trade market. One name to keep an eye on is New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. The only way Davis will come into play is if Davis wants out, something that isn’t that far-fetched when you consider the steady run of injuries he’s enduring on a team that’s going nowhere fast. The Celtics have draft picks galore, young talent with very team-friendly contracts and being in the East, that would mean the Pelicans would only see Davis twice a season.
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June 28, 2017 | 9:23 pm EDT Update
Ramona Shelburne: There was still strong internal debate on whether the team should pay $45 million in the final year of a deal to a 37-year-old player. Big Detail: The Clippers had not yet committed to give Chris Paul the full five-year max contract of $201 million.
The New York Knicks’ focus over the next few weeks will be on free agency, and not on a replacement for departed team president Phil Jackson, league sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. General manager Steve Mills was leading the front office in talks with other teams on Wednesday, sources said.
Any discussion with Ujiri — who is facing a potential rebuild of his own should the Raptors lose free agents Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, PJ Tucker and Patrick Patterson — would first require permission and then steep compensation (such as draft picks), which league sources said was unlikely for the Knicks, given their current roster construction.