New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis can enter free agency next summer and be one of the top names on the market. His agent, Rich Paul, has apparently informed the team Davis wants out sooner than that.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul says Davis has requested a trade from the team. In addition, Paul informed the Pelicans today that Davis has no intention of signing a long-term contract extension if and when one is offered.
Davis could sign a 5-year, $240 million super max extension this summer and can become a free agent in the summer of 2020, Wojnarowski reports. However, New Orleans has expressed no desire to deal Anthony before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, per Wojnarowski.
“Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” Paul told Wojnarowski.
As for the timing of the trade request, Paul told Wojnarowski: “Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic also reports Davis has had conversations with his teammates prior to this decision. Additionally, The New York Times‘ Marc Stein reports Paul has not given the Pelicans a preferred trade destination for Davis. Stein also reports that when asked if the Pelicans would honor Davis’ request before the trade deadline, Paul said: “They haven’t said much, but we wanted to do the right thing to let them know by the deadline so they could do what’s best for the organization going forward.”
Davis declined to speak with reporters today after the Pelicans’ practice. New Orleans is traveling to face the Houston Rockets tomorrow.
News of Davis’ trade request presents a prime opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to make a run at him. Paul also represents Lakers star LeBron James and the team has been determined to acquire Davis in a deal, Wojnarowski reports.
The Boston Celtics have also been rumored off and on for years as a potential landing spot for Davis. The Celtics have a treasure trove of assets — young players, future Draft picks and veterans on favorable deals — that could make such a super-trade possible. However, the Celtics cannot deal for Davis because a rule tied to when he and current Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving signed their last contract extensions.
Known as the “Rose Rule,” this provision allows certain players coming off their rookie-scale contracts to earn 30 percent of the salary cap as opposed to 25 percent. To be eligible, a player must have achieved one of the following four accolades in his first four seasons: Kia MVP award, Kia Defensive Player of the Year Award or two All-NBA selections. (When Davis and Irving inked their extensions, All-Star selections were in the wording instead of Kia DPOY.) Davis was a two-time All-Star by the summer of 2015 (when he signed his extension) as was Irving (when he did likewise in the summer of 2014).
A five-time All-Star, Davis was an All-NBA first team member in three of the last four seasons. He has made three All-Defensive teams in his career and is the Pelicans’ all-time leader in points scored, rebounds, blocks, field goals attempted and made and free throws attempted and made.
A year ago at this time, the Pelicans had perhaps the most dominant frontcourt in the NBA with Davis lining up with DeMarcus Cousins. Then Cousins tore his Achilles, and wound up signing this past summer with Golden State.