Once the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James, the focus shifted to who would become the second All-Star to join the team. Speculation thus far has linked the Lakers to the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson, among others, in 2019 free agency.
While he remains under contract for two more seasons (player option for 2020-21), New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis is another who’s been projected by some to eventually wind up playing for the Lakers.
James openly embraced the possibility when recently asked if he would like to have Davis as a teammate. It marked the start of some controversy as general managers from small market teams reportedly grew upset with James’ remarks.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry appeared perturbed himself, questioning how James wasn’t found to have violated the NBA’s tampering rules, via Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group:
“It’s B.S.; it’s tampering,” he said. “It’s tampering. Should we start having A.D. say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?’ I’m just saying, why is it not tampering if players are saying it?
“There’s a distinction between someone talking about a player that’s under contract – I thought if you talk about a player under contract, it was tampering. But that’s just me. I’ve only been in the league 31 years, what do I know?”
Gentry was more diplomatic prior to tipoff of Friday’s game between the Lakers and Pelicans. “We keep talking LeBron James, LeBron James, LeBron James. He was asked a question that he answered,” he acknowledged.
“If he doesn’t answer it, then you guys talk about him not answering it. He answers it, now everybody is saying he’s tampering.”
Gentry went on to restate the Pelicans don’t have any intention of trading Davis. “He’s under contract for another year and a half. That’s the easy part on our side,” Gentry said. “We have no intentions of trading him, we’re not going to trade him. That starts at the top; all the way from our owner down to the last ballboy. We’re not trading him.”
Showing he can still have a sense of humor over the entire saga, Gentry initially refused to discuss his experiences coaching Rajon Rondo. “I can’t talk about him,” Gentry deadpanned. “He’s under contract (with another team).”
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