By publicly requesting a trade, Anthony Davis sidetracked the Pelicans’ season, hurt their leverage and got himself fined.
His agent, Rich Paul, said it didn’t have to come to that.
Paul admits the situation got out of hand. (“Would I have wanted things to be handled a bit better? Absolutely.”) But he goes on to dump all blame on then Pels GM, Dell Demps. Because Paul insists his plan wasn’t to go public. He says that he first informed Demps on Jan. 25 of Davis’s intentions, and Demps responded that he’d confer with Benson and get back to him. (Demps did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) Instead, Paul says, Demps called Davis himself—and never got back to Paul. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had contacted him, Paul says, to confirm Davis’s demands.
“It was necessary to go public,” Paul says. “When I told you, ‘Here’s our intentions,’ and you say, ‘Hey, let me talk to ownership,’ and instead of you talking to ownership you call Anthony Davis? That’s called being ignored.” And trying to get between a player and his agent? “That’s a no-no,” Paul says. “Every GM knows that.”
Paul joins former Lakers president Magic Johnson in blaming Demps for the debacle. Since fired by Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, Demps is an easy scapegoat.
Also maybe the correct one.
Beyond Paul’s earlier private trade request, there were years of mismanagement and signals from Davis that led to public trade request. Demps should have taken Paul’s initial message more seriously and handled it more directly.