And that was while he played for the Pelicans, against players who didn’t care about his trade saga.
The tension will be far higher Wednesday. Not only will Davis return to New Orleans with the Lakers, he’ll face a Pelicans team featuring three players – Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart – the Lakers traded for him.
Davis, via Bill Oram of The Athletic:
“I kind of had a little bit of it after the trade (request), that first game against Minnesota,” Davis told a small group of reporters on Saturday following the Lakers’ win in Memphis. “Felt like I was on the other side. I got a little taste of it, but I know it’s going to be even worse.”
“I’m excited to play,” he said. “Just like I was excited to play that first game against Minnesota last year, but I think you’ve got to embrace it.
“It’s two-folded,” Davis said. “It’s going to be me (against the) Pelicans, and then the three guys (Ball, Ingram and Hart), if they play, against the Lakers. So it’s going to be a great battle. Those guys are going to try to take our heads off just to prove a point.”
Davis forced his way off the Pelicans and sabotaged their season last year. He’s the villain in New Orleans now. He might as well embrace it. It beats weak excuses.
Davis also raises an astute point about Ingram, Ball and Hart seeking revenge games. The main focus will be on Davis’ return, but those other three players have their own motivations. They’ll probably want to send a message.
It’ll be one more thing for Davis and the Lakers to do deal with.