It has been another disappointing season so far for the Pelicans, who remain in the hunt for the No. 8 seed in the West but are currently just 22-34, 12th in the conference. Still, despite the fact that the team appears headed for its fourth losing season in five years since drafting Anthony Davis, the former No. 1 pick told reporters on Tuesday that he has no desire to leave New Orleans.
“I don’t plan on leaving, so make sure you write that down,” Davis said when asked about trade speculation, per Jeff Duncan of The New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Davis’ stance, which he has expressed in the past, doesn’t come as a real shock. He’s in the first year of a long-term contract, which means he won’t be eligible for free agency until at least 2020, and the Pelicans have never expressed any desire to move him. If a star player wants a change of scenery, he could put pressure on his team by privately or publicly expressing his dissatisfaction, but Davis hasn’t done that. He suggested on Tuesday’s conference call that he remains confident in New Orleans’ ability to contend.
“We’ve got to find a way to keep fighting,” Davis said. “We have a team that is able to compete for the playoffs. We showed that a couple of times this year (in January wins against the Cavaliers and Spurs). We feel we are just as good as any other team in this league. We just need to find a way to stay a little more healthy and be a little more consistent.”
Even though they’re currently 12 games below .500, the Pelicans appear to be prepared to buy, rather than sell, at next week’s trade deadline. Recent reports have indicated that they’re eyeing players like Jahlil Okafor and Brook Lopez as they dangle their 2018 first-round pick in search of a center to complement Davis in the frontcourt. For his part, Davis says he’s not lobbying the team to make a move.
“That’s up to the front office,” Davis said. “Whatever the front office tries to do, they come to me and ask me my opinion. But right now I’m just trying to help the team win and do my job.”