Anthony Davis: ‘I’ve got the power. I’m doing what I want to do.’

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Anthony Davis is playing out the end of an awkward season.

Through his agent (Rich Paul) he told the Pelicans he would not re-sign with them and asked for a trade, but the timing before the trade deadline and public campaign clearly were trying to push him to the Lakers. The Pelicans’ brass was not playing ball. Davis did not get traded, and now we have this awkward dance. The Pelicans want to sit him the rest of the way but can’t (league and union pressures), so this ridiculous compromise has been struck where he plays 20 minutes a night, not the fourth quarter, and the Pelicans grind out the rest of their season just trying to ignore it. It’s a PR mess.

Through it all, Davis has said little. That is, until he went on “The Shop,” LeBron James’ barbershop talk show on HBO. Davis was in the episode released Friday and he had plenty to say about him wanting to take control of his career.

“All the media coverage around me, and now I’m getting a chance to take over my career and say what I want to say and do what I want to do. So now you see everybody [saying], ‘All right, I see AD changing.’ Everybody’s telling me, ‘You’re growing up. It’s about time to take care of your business, take care of your career.’

“So now, as a player, as the CEO of my own business, I’ve got the power. I’m doing what I want to do and not what somebody tells me to do.”

LeBron’s Lakers want to trade for Davis, but the Boston Celtics and other teams are expected to get into the bidding this summer. Davis was honest in saying he does not know what’s going to happen.

“It is tough because you just don’t know. I don’t know. I have one year left on contract, so I’m not sure what they’re gonna do. Obviously, I stated my intentions. But I did that this year and they [essentially said], ‘No, we’re going to keep you here.’ So for me, it’s just not knowing what’s going to happen.”

It wasn’t so much “we’re going to keep you here” as “we feel bullied and are not just going to send you where you want to go.” Also, sources have told me all along the Pelicans believe they will get better offers than what the Lakers can put on the table.

Now Davis gets booed at home games in New Orleans, which shouldn’t be a surprise as the fans feel betrayed.

“When I walked into the arena and I heard [the boos], I was like, ‘Damn, seven years I’ve been here, all the stuff I did for you, all the community stuff.’ And so it bothered me. And then when we tipped it up, it was over. I was like, ‘I’m about to get 30.’ [Ed note: He had 32 in that first game back]…

“When I caught it, they booed. Then when we started losing, and I went on a run myself, they were like, ‘We want AD.’ And I was like, ‘You’ve got to make up your mind. You can’t boo me and cheer me.'”

Actually, they can and should boo and cheer him. Of course the New Orleans fans want him to stay, he’s one of the five best players in the world. The Pelicans are better with him and, from the fan’s perspective, he wants to leave them. That stings. So their emotions are all over the place with him. That’s to be expected.

Davis may not like how the narrative is spun about him now, but that’s part of the price of the game he chose to play — not basketball, but forcing his way out of New Orleans. He has the right to control his own destiny, to ultimately play where he wants to play, but he can’t expect the many fans around the league emotionally invested in what jersey he pulls on next year to see it that way (same with teams whose financial fortunes can change on his decision). Once Davis is traded there will be new sets of unhappy fan bases. Once you’re the CEO that’s just part of what comes with it.

Report: NBA ‘snitch’ hotline receiving multiple tips

NBA snitch hotline
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When the NBA created a hotline for players to anonymously report violations inside the bubble, numerous questions emerged. How often would it get used? What consequences would told-on players face? Would other players resent how often Chris Paul called?

Some answers are emerging.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Kings center Richaun Holmes and Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo are each quarantined after breaking protocols. It’s unclear how their violations were detected.

Yes, there is a culture against snitching. That this report is snitching about snitching is truly something.

But there’s too much at stake – health of hundreds of people and a lot of money – to take these protocols lightly. Everyone at the NBA’s Disney World campus is entrusting their safety (and, for players, whose salaries are tied to revenue, livelihood) to those around them. It’s important everyone involved acts responsibly.

Kings forward Harrison Barnes tests positive for coronavirus

Kings forward Harrison Barnes
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The Kings have been hit especially hard by coronavirus.

Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len all tested positive. Richaun Holmes is quarantined after violating the NBA’s bubble protocols at Disney World.

And now Harrison Barnes reveals he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Harrison Barnes:

Presumably, Barnes was among the 19 players the NBA announced tested positive for coronavirus in July in home markets.

“Primarily asymptomatic” is a strange assessment. Does Barnes mean he’s mildly symptomatic?

The Kings already faced an uphill climb for making the playoffs. At best, several of their players are falling behind in training. At worst, Sacramento will have its rotation depleted when games begin.

Hopefully, Barnes recovers and joins the team as he hopes. He has a personal stake in it. Even during the lengthy hiatus, Barnes stuck with his pledge not to shave or cut his hair until the Kings reach .500 (or, as he amended it, make the playoffs) or the season ends.

Report: Pacers star Victor Oladipo’s remaining salary in dispute

Pacers star Victor Oladipo
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Among the continuing 22 NBA teams, players not playing in the resumption at Disney World essentially fall into two categories:

Pacers star Victor Oladipo lands in the gray area.

Oladipo, who returned from a year-long absence shortly before the season got suspended in March, said he was sitting out due to elevated risk of injury during a quick buildup. But he also traveled with the team to Orlando and is even practicing so well, Indiana is reportedly becoming increasingly optimistic he’ll play.

Is Oladipo healthy enough to play?

At stake for Oladipo:

  • $2,763,158 if the Pacers get swept in the first round
  • $2,993,421 if they play exactly five playoff games
  • $3,223,684 if they play six or more playoff games

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The union believes Oladipo, who went to Orlando with the Pacers and then cleared quarantine so he could practice, should be paid his remaining salary, sources said.

The league, largely in an effort to set a precedent in case other players who are deemed healthy want to leave Orlando and no longer play, believes Oladipo has opted out and should not be paid, sources said. His public comments about feeling healthy has only solidified the league’s position on the matter, sources said.

The Pacers support Oladipo’s decision and are willing to pay him the salary whether he plays or not, sources said.

Presumably, if Oladipo plays, he’ll get paid like anyone else playing in the resumption. This controversy lingers only if Oladipo doesn’t play.

It’s unsurprising the Pacers don’t want to pick this fight with their star player, especially as he approaches 2021 free agency. Trying to avoid alienating their own players but not necessarily eager to pay for services not rendered, teams collectively want the league to handle these issues.

If teams had ample discretion, the Wizards might have said Davis Bertans – who chose to sit out – had some lingering injury. NBA players are rarely perfectly healthy. There’s always some physical issue to point to. Bertans will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and they want to re-sign him. What an easy way to build goodwill – and maybe even get a discount on Bertans’ next contract.

Obviously, the league doesn’t want those type of shenanigans. That’s why on outside rulings on players’ health can be important.

Oladipo might not be the only borderline case:

Oladipo’s situation might take care of itself if he decides to play. But the league might inquire more deeply into other situations.

Report: Rockets star James Harden ‘feeling fine,’ might travel with Russell Westbrook

Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook
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When Russell Westbrook revealed he had coronavirus, speculation immediately turned to the Rockets’ other star who also didn’t travel with the team to Disney World.

James Harden is “feeling fine,” working out and might travel with Westbrook to Orlando, according to Shams Charania of Stadium:

Was Harden also diagnosed with coronavirus? Is he just waiting for his friend before entering the restrictive bubble? Is there another issue?

These questions beget even more questions.

If both players have coronavirus, they won’t necessarily recover on the same day. Would the first to get cleared wait for the other? Or is traveling together just an idea in case it works out?

If Harden is fully healthy and just waiting for Westbrook, how do their teammates inside the bubble feel about that? Those already at Disney World are spending more time away from friends and family in less-than-ideal conditions.

If there’s another issue… who knows?

The lack of transparency around the situation only invites rumors and guesses.

At least it’s good news that Harden feels fine.