Anthony Davis seems to be a pretty honest, earnest guy, and when he makes a statement you’re generally inclined to believe him.
Except this time.
As rumors regarding a possible switch for the New Orleans Pelicans big man to Los Angeles picked up fresh steam, specifically because of LeBron James’ public admission that such a scenario would be “amazing”, Davis tried to quiet things down on Wednesday night.
“I don’t really care,” he told ESPN, in response to a question about James’ comments. “Obviously it’s cool to hear any high-caliber player say they want to play with me. But my job is to turn this team around.”
Davis also said that he loves New Orleans, talks its slang and adores its food, but while the Big Easy has unmistakable charms and the jambalaya is spectacular, there is surely more than meets the eye here.
For a start, James is in the entertainment business now and this has all the hallmarks of an epic production with a plot that thickens by the second. It is hard to think that James’ apparent wooing of Davis at the start of the week, hedged just about carefully enough to avoid drawing the league’s ire, just happened by itself.
Remember this – nothing James says on the record is by accident, neither in terms of content nor timing. And talking of timing, what a surprise, Friday sees the Pelicans heading to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers for one of only two visits this season, in a big nationally televised game just before Christmas.
The NBA world gets so wrapped up in technicalities, transactions and rules, that it sometimes favors those things over the glaringly obvious.
For all his individual excellence, Davis hasn’t enjoyed team success in New Orleans, despite blooming into a transformational player and one of the absolute best in the league. If he moved to L.A., a potential scenario would instantly arise where he would contend for a title with James for a couple of years before taking over as the face of the franchise, like some fairly well-regarded big guys have done in the past: Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Davis?
For goodness sake, he signed with Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports agency at the start of this season, the same Rich Paul who is closest friends with James and represents him, too.
Staying in Hollywood parlance, this might play out as a cliffhanger but in truth it has all the hallmarks of a meticulously-plotted heist movie, with the Pelicans being the ones due to get their pocket picked of their greatest asset.
Is it so far-fetched to think that James had the shell of a plan in place when he decided to move to Los Angeles from Cleveland? A plan that went beyond hoping that Lonzo Ball would get better and wishing for a random, benevolent free agent to be enticed by a change of scenery? James doesn’t tend to deal in maybes.
There are plenty of reasons being doled out why a move for Davis would be impractical, but all of them get bogged down in the details and ignore the simple fact that if the former Kentucky Wildcat center has his heart set on playing for the Lakers, then that’s how this thing ends up.
Yes, he can make more money with the Pelicans thanks to the wonders of the supermax. But if cash is truly his biggest concern, there is a rumor going around that title-challenging superstars playing for a storied franchise in the entertainment capital of the world tend to make out okay with the off-court financials.
So while the Boston Celtics have more to offer in a trade scenario, Davis has the real power here, whether it be right now or when he becomes a free agent in 2020.
Maybe James’ fulsome praise of Davis was simply to get it out there. Maybe it was so that the Pelicans star will get a rousing reception when he enters Staples Center on Friday, to solidify in his mind that this would be a happy new home.
Or heck, maybe it’s all conjecture and the lure of all that Cajun food will be too strong, and Davis will spend future years in Louisiana on a mediocre team with a supermax deal.
Given the NBA’s magnetism to drama and James’ habit of getting what he wants, that would be the biggest plot twist of all. Him appearing in Lakers colors before too long – that’s the movie. This week’s hullaballoo? That was the trailer.
Follow Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News