Anthony Davis‘ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers has gone exactly according to plan.
Despite four straight losses, the Lakers sit at 24-7 with the Western Conference’s best record, a stark difference from any of Davis’ seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans.
In his seven seasons with the Pelicans, Davis made the NBA playoffs just twice and got to the second round only once, often having to carry a lesser supporting cast on his back. It’s this continued mediocrity that led to the trade request made by Davis in Jan. 2019. With the Pelicans prepared to offer Davis a supermax contract, he felt it best to save them the time and ask them to trade him.
Now that he is a Laker and he’s had some time separated from this saga, Davis was able to reflect on what spurred this trade request in the first place, largely citing the lack of wins in his time there, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“I think it was just the wins weren’t adding up, and it seemed like we weren’t making the playoffs,” Davis told Yahoo Sports after posting 24 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. “Everyone around me and everyone who knows me knows that I want to win. And I didn’t feel like we were going to be able to do that last year. I want to be able to win. We got off to a great start. We were 4-0. Then guys got hurt and little things started to go south. But my mindset at the time was to keep trying to lead my team.”
Davis also pointed to the short lifespan of an NBA career and how he wanted the opportunity to consistently compete for championships before his time in this league came to an end — even though he’s just 26 years old:
“You don’t have a lot of time in this league. It goes by very fast,” he told Yahoo Sports. “So for me, it was about putting myself in position where I can win before this career is over. And hopefully win several championships and have several winning seasons. That’s what was going through my head at that time. I’m not sure what the record was, but I felt like it was time for me to at least let the organization know where my head was at.”
Davis seemingly has no regrets about how things ended in New Orleans and clearly sees Los Angeles as a place where he can compete for championships.
If the Lakers can get back on the winning track and have a successful season, they should be able to convince Davis to sign a long term deal to stay in Los Angeles. It will then be up to general manager Rob Pelinka and company to continue to put a contender around him that he so desperately wanted in New Orleans.