Well before Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, he and the New Orleans Pelicans seemingly were at odds over the best course of action.
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, requested a trade prior to the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, though the Pelicans weren’t inclined to act.
The Lakers attempted to enter into trade talks for Davis with the saga playing out in a public manner. It created a toxic environment for Davis and the Pelicans and has been referenced as a period of strain on the Lakers locker room.
Former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson later accused the Pelicans of not acting in good faith in trade talks. As New Orleans made changes to their front office, executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin brought a new perspective.
Once it became apparent Griffin would not be able to convince Davis to remain with the Pelicans, trade speculation began to gain traction. The possibility of the Lakers acquiring the talented big man seemingly increased when they secured the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The trade eventually came to fruition and Wednesday marked Davis’ first time back in New Orleans since the deal. While he was a beloved member of the team and community during his time with the Pelicans, some fans greeted him with boos, beginning with pregame warmups and carrying into lineup introductions.
Anthony Davis runs out onto the court to boos, but not an overwhelming level. There's a lot of Lakers fans here too. pic.twitter.com/doUrDGOP0H
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) November 28, 2019
Anthony Davis introduction in New Orleans as a Laker. pic.twitter.com/OLMziG8xcw
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) November 28, 2019
Heading into the matchup, Davis said he was looking forward to playing in New Orleans. LeBron James and Rajon Rondo were among those to give the 26-year-old advice on how to handle what was expected to be a hostile environment.
With the Lakers, Davis is part of a team that boasts the best record in the NBA and he’s emerged as an early Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate.