There was a ton of drama surrounding Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018-19 NBA season.
Davis demanded a trade to the Lakers which never came, forcing Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry into a difficult situation on what to do with his All-Star player.
Davis would sit some games and play limited minutes in others as the relationship between team and player had dissolved. Of course, Davis ultimately got his wish as he was dealt to the Lakers, but Gentry still has some hard feelings about the way everything went down.
Gentry spoke to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN about the saga, saying that he knew what would happen the moment Davis signed with Klutch Sports:
“I’m a realist,” Gentry says. “When Anthony signed with Klutch Sports, I knew what was going to happen. They told me, ‘No, we’re not trying to get him traded,’ but we all realized it was just a matter of time.”
Agent Rich Paul himself announced the Davis trade demand on Twitter kicking everything off. As negotiations went on, the Lakers young core began to struggle handling all of their names being kicked around in trade rumors. No one knew whether they would be on the team the next day and it caused a strain on everyone.
In this era of player empowerment and movement, it is not uncommon for players to demand a trade, but Gentry simply wishes Davis had done things in a different way:
“I understand that some players feel the need to move on. With Anthony, it could have and should have been handled differently. If it was, I would have been OK with the situation.”
No one faults Davis for wanting to leave New Orleans. He had been with them for seven seasons with just two playoff appearances to show for it, one of which was a sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. At 26-years-old, Davis is entering his prime and didn’t want to waste any more years not contending for a championship.
However, the way things were perceived to be handled with Paul and Klutch Sports trying to force Davis to the Lakers and making things public did not go over well.
Regardless of the lingering feelings, both sides have to move on. Gentry has arguably the best collection of young talent in the league while Davis has what he wants: a chance to compete for a championship in Los Angeles.
It may not have gone down the way everyone would have liked but in the end, everyone came out for the better.