Good luck finding anyone around the NBA that believes Anthony Davis will be a member of the New Orleans Pelicans next season. The struggles of the Pelicans this season — 18-22, 14th in the West, outside the playoffs and looking in — and the limited options they have to improve the roster in a meaningful way have everyone thinking he will be on the move.
That doesn’t mean the Pelicans plan to trade him at the February deadline. They do not. Sources with direct knowledge of the Pelicans thinking have told NBC Sports they will not trade him this season, which echoes what coach Alvin Gentry has said, what owner Gayle Benson has said, and what others have reported as well.
Davis is not Jimmy Butler, he is not going to sabotage a franchise to force a trade. That’s not in his personality. Beyond that, he genuinely wants to make it work in New Orleans. Look at some of the things he told Joe Varden of The Athletic in a Q&A (that you should read all of).
“That other stuff doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters to me is this team right here, and all I can do to help this team win and what we can do as a team to get more wins. The other stuff is for guys outside the team, and media, whoever wants to look at it. For me, it’s about this team and what we can do to win…
“I don’t know what other people think, I don’t care what other people think. For me, it’s always about in the moment. If you try to think too far ahead, you get caught, you get lost from what is going on in the moment. For me it’s always about tonight’s game, today’s shootaround, how can I be better in the moment instead of trying to plan too far ahead or look too far ahead, because you lose sight of the moment.”
That said, Davis backed up his statement that legacy matters to him more than money… but the man still wants to get paid.
I never said money wasn’t important. Somebody (Chris Haynes, of Yahoo Sports) asked me about money or your legacy. In that case, your legacy lasts forever. Your money comes and goes, but for me I want to build a legacy. In that case, if you have to choose between money or legacy, I think legacy wins every time, in my opinion.
Davis said to him legacy means winning, championships and MVPs specifically.
If he doesn’t believe that can happen in New Orleans and he turns down the five-year, $239 million supermax extension he will be offered by the Pelicans, then July gets very interesting. There will be 29 teams calling the Pelicans, with the Lakers and Celtics at the front of the line.
But for now, Davis is a Pelican and he’s trying to will his team back to the playoffs. That is not changing.