CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If anyone came into All-Star weekend expecting some clarity on Anthony Davis’ situation and where he will play next, they came away sadly disappointed.
Saturday, Davis made things even murkier by throwing the door open to more possiblities.
First, Davis was asked about the leaked list of his preferred destinations — Lakers, Knicks, Bucks, Clippers — and if that was accurate.
“That list that came out, it’s between my agent and the Pelicans,” Davis said, but then added:
That list never included Boston, which now is one of the front-runners to be able to trade for him.
“They are on my list, I never said Boston wasn’t on my list,” Davis said.
So, is Boston on your list?
“I never said they wasn’t on my list,” he reiterated.
It went around like that in a circle for a while. When asked about the Knicks being on his list specifically he praised them.
“It’s a great franchise. Playing in, obviously, the Garden, the city,” Davis said, but then he pivoted to a theme he stuck with all day. “But Milwaukee was on that list too. It doesn’t matter about big market, small market. It’s about winning for me.”
Later, on NBA TV, Davis said all 29 other NBA teams were on his list, which felt like him trying to cover himself after his earlier comments. Rather than coming into media day Saturday with a prepared set answer for the inevitable trade questions, Davis seemed to wing it. He was open, but also did muddied the waters.
“I’m just keeping it real, to be honest,” Davis said. “I knew that’s all you guys (the assembled media) wanted to talk about. I just stated how I feel, stated my intentions, and we’ll go on from there.”
One thing Davis was clear about, saying it multiple times through the day, was that winning was his priority — over market size, money, or anything else.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to get to play the game, I want to be able to win. No matter where it is. I have no preferred destination,” Davis said. “I just felt it was time for me to move forward, take charge of my career, and try to win.”
That winning wasn’t happening in New Orleans, which is why a few weeks before the trade deadline his agent, Rich Paul, reached out to the Pelicans, told them Davis would not re-sign with the team and gave them a list of preferred destinations. Paul then leaked the trade request to the media, which both got Davis fined and turned the entire thing into a full-on circus.
Every move Davis makes now is scrutinized as media and fans try to read the tea leaves of his intentions. He’s also been booed by his hometown fans, the first real negativity he has faced in his career.
“That doesn’t bother me,” Davis said. “I have a great team around me making sure I’m fine, always checking on me, there to support me. There’s only a handful of people whose opinions matter to me.”
He also just avoids NBA Twitter.
“The biggest thing, especially nowadays, is social media. I stay off social media, nobody’s opinion (there) matters to me,” Davis said.
The scrutiny even extends to All-Star weekend in Charlotte. For Sunday’s game, LeBron James drafted a team full of potential free agents — Davis, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard — which led to jokes even on the All-Star draft show about tampering. How much are the players talking about their futures with each other?
“Zero,” Davis said. “All that tampering stuff that comes out in the media, nobody really talks about that. At least not to me… When I’m around we talk about games more than anything. We talk about how it’s hard to play in Denver, the air up there, things like that.”
Davis said his plan is to play in the All-Star Game despite leaving the last game before the break with what has been diagnosed as a shoulder contusion, although he will see how he feels on Sunday.
Beyond that, the plan the rest of the season is much the same.
“My intent is to play, to continue to play. And that’s it…
“My job is to play these final 20-something games in New Orleans, then we’ll see where it goes from there,” Davis said.