The current era of the NBA has been referred to by many as the ‘Player Empowerment Era’ as LeBron James is largely credited with being the main player to take control of his career beginning with ‘The Decision’ and a large number of players have followed since including Anthony Davis.
Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans — much to the chagrin of many — but he has no regrets about taking control of his present and future.
“I just wanted to take control of my career. It was always people telling me you need to do this, you need to do that. I just kind of went with it,” Davis said.
“I was young, I felt like people had the best interest (in mind) for me. As I started getting older and more experienced, I was like, I don’t want to do that. I want to do it this way.”
Davis doubled down on his feelings. “As long as I can sleep at night and live with the decision I made, I’m happy. I don’t really care what everyone else thinks. I have a great team around me who I can talk to about things that are going on and they give me great advice. At the end of the day, I live with the decision I make.”
There was a time when teams had control of basically all players, but that has changed. James realized his value and used that to his advantage as other All-Star players have followed his lead throughout the years.
One player who has seen this change throughout the league is Jared Dudley who has been in the NBA since 2007.
“Player empowerment right now is at an all-time high, contracts are at an all-time high, the league’s revenue,” Dudle noted. “LeBron, back in the Miami decision, he basically gave players a way out of being able to control their own destiny like no other and take things into their own hands.”
“You see players like Kawhi, what he did this year, guys that are even under contract wanting to move, I think it makes it more exciting. You saw the league and so many players moved, the main reason was because of Durant leaving — obviously, his injury opening it up — those guys were stacked the last couple years. Now, you look at him leaving, now everyone thinks they have a chance, and that makes for exciting basketball this year. Teams are going after it.”
Without a doubt, this era has certainly made the offseason more exciting and that bleeds into the regular season. It feels as if any number of teams could win a championship for the 2019-20 NBA season which only builds more anticipation.
With James and Davis, the Lakers believe they have as good of a chance as anyone to hoist the trophy at the end of the season but in another era, this pairing may not have even been possible.