Rich Paul Talks Anthony Davis, Lakers, Celtics

Anthony Davis‘ agent, Rich Paul, took a good deal of criticism earlier this year when he went public with his client’s trade request just 10 days before the 2019 deadline, seemingly pressuring the Pelicans to get a deal done with the Lakers and indirectly derailing both teams’ seasons in the process.

However, Paul tells S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated that he feels as if going public with Davis’ trade request was his only option. As Paul explains, he told Pelicans GM Dell Demps of AD’s desire to be moved, and Demps – who said he’d talk to team owner Gayle Benson and get back to Paul – instead tried to contact Davis directly and didn’t get back in touch with his agent.

“It was necessary to go public,” Paul told Price. “When I told you, ‘Here’s our intentions,’ and you say, ‘Hey, let me talk to ownership,’ and instead of you talking to ownership you call Anthony Davis? That’s called being ignored. … [Trying to get between a player and his agent] is a no-no. Every GM knows that.”

Price’s feature on Paul includes several other interesting tidbits, including one source telling SI that the agent approached at least one NBA coach to gauge his interest in an assistant role on Frank Vogel‘s staff — both Paul and the Lakers denied that happened.

Here are some more of Paul’s most noteworthy comments from the story, which is worth checking out in full:

On why the Lakers would be a good landing spot for Anthony Davis, with or without fellow Paul client LeBron James on their roster:

“My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers. Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq? So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.?

“I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”

On why the Knicks would also be an appealing destination for Davis:

“The only difference is, they don’t have as many championships as the Lakers. They got a tradition. It’s a big market—not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that?”

On the idea of the Celtics trading for Davis:

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year. I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

On Davis’ plans to test free agency in 2020:

“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea. And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”

(Note: The team that holds Davis’ Bird rights when he enters free agency in 2020 will be able to offer him more years and more money than any other team.)

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49 thoughts on “Rich Paul Talks Anthony Davis, Lakers, Celtics

  1. thebighurt619

    Lakers dont need AD.

    Primary targets should be Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson.
    Walker Thompson James Kuzma and C (could roll with Wagner, use #4 Or trade back for a C, try low cost options like Looney or go high cost like kanter Vucevic cauley-stein).

    2nd unit of ball hart Ingram back up PF and back up C

    Save your assets and be smart with your money.

    • Senioreditor

      Kemba? Seriously, you mention them in the same sentence? They need AD BIG TIME IMMEDIATELY. That’s the ONLY way anyone will sign on to play with them. BI or Kuz + #4 should get it done unless others out there want to risk a rental.

      • east333

        They really don’t though. Getting a great two way 2 like Klay would have way more of impact than AD. I’d trade for Capella or see if Vuc would sign on a non-max salary contract. Trade for more depth with young guys. Namely anyone but Hart and Kuzma.

        • When will everyone listen to what clay said about staying with the Warriors? He’s not going anywhere. Every person on this side of the Grave knows that.

          • knickscavsfan

            I might stop posting responses and just wait for you. We are echoing the same things. Well said. But ummmm….it’s Klay with a K as in “kainotophobia” which means “fear of change” which is what the Pelican’s owner probably felt when Paul first made AD’s desire to be traded known to their GM.

            • I Know, sorry. I do voice to text and hit publish before I proofread sometimes. I Know you’re Kidding, but Keep posting I read all your stuff !

    • snotrocket

      Nobody other than AD wants to play there. Maybe if Jeannie does playboy again you guys can lure some decent free agents…

    • bowserhound

      Klay and Vucevic added to the current roster looks very promising. That would be two very good rotations if they keep Rondo.

      • Matt Kimball

        As a Laker fan, I know that Vuc will get close to max money and Mychal Thompson said his kid is staying in Frisco. SO neither of these guys are going to LA.

    • knickscavsfan

      Klay’s already made it very clear he intends to stay with the GSW. The fact that Durant will likely miss all of next season almost guarantees that they’ll offer him the best contract possible.

      And I don’t think it’s forgone conclusion that NO ONE will want to go to the Lakers. It’s LA. It’s LBJ. We know the drama but perhaps things can get better. The drama was mostly caused by the AD trade rumors. Once that’s settled then a lot of the tension would cease as well.

  2. GoldenJabs

    In other words….. Danny stay away!! Build around the young guys !!

  3. Skip, Tampa

    Adam Silver should drop the hammer on Rich Paul for tampering. Personally sick of Paul and his LBJ mafia crew thinking that they own the NBA.
    AD talks about wanting a legacy. Is this garbage agent who he really wants to shape a legacy ?
    Because AD looks like a Sewer Rat right now. Unbelievably Sad for him, he’s better than that.

    • Steve

      Lol…. what did Rich Paul do that Paljnka didn’t? Oh that’s right demand Shaq be traded, because that’s what Kobe wanted!….. like, live, or hate his tactics, he’s trying to bring talent to the Lakers.

    • Jason Lancaster

      How can he be tampering when he’s just an agent? I get that he’s a loudmouth and a jerk, but Rich Paul isn’t in a position to offer anyone anything. He’s Stephen A Smith, but with more credibility.

      Tampering requires action by someone in a position to make guarantees. The rules exist to keep team officials from working outside the official process. Not to keep agents or athletes from shooting their mouths.

    • knickscavsfan

      Rich is far from what you describe. At the end of the day he is AN AGENT. Agent’s carry out the wishes of their client and the client in this case is AD, not LBJ. Agent’s get a bad rap. I’m one to but not for sports. Screw you for not understanding how the business really works.

      I say that hating how the NBA is right now as I think it’s unfair to teams who plan around their roster and the guys under contract but at the end of the day, it’s become a players league. Acting as if Rich created this is a joke. Kobe asked to be traded. Kyrie asked to be traded. Kevin Love asked to be traded. Kawhi, Paul George, etc, etc. The one thing you can NEVER say about Paul and LBJ is that they honored their contracts and never demanded to be traded.

    • alonsoball

      At the end of the day, he’s one of Lebron’s puppets, which tells you the kind of guy no.23 is

      • knickscavsfan

        You have no understanding of business. Paul is an agent so he does the bidding of LBJ as it pertains to LBJ. He’s also a client of AD and he’s now doing his bidding. I hate the narrative being spread. He’s made it clear that AD is amicable to being traded to teams other than LA.

        • knickscavsfan

          I meant to say that, to their credit, LBJ and Paul NEVER demanded to be traded and fulfilled their obligations to the team.

  4. Reflect

    Ok. I had completely given AD the benefit of the doubt until now. Trade requests happen all the time and I figured the publicity was not intentional. But based on this story I have to say what they did is definitely worthy of harsh criticism, and should be punished.

    Using force and drama to bully his way out of a contract that Anthony Davis willingly agreed to is just not acceptable. He has the right to not want to stay, but the Pelicans also have the right to a peaceful experience during the lifetime of the existing contract.

    • imindless

      Lmao how so they tried to do things under the covers and pelicans tried to split agent from ad? Pels were just upset “there guy” wanted greener pastures and was tired of not winning. As a competitor losing gets old and he has spent 7 miserable year barely making it into the playoffs a few times. Contractually he has continued to play out his contract the pels pull him early out of games for risk of injury. Thats on them then they should just trade him instead of trying to extract the largest package available and be done with it. Pels are a poorly run team and players dont wanna play there would not be surprised if the same thing happens to zion.

      • knickscavsfan

        Different front office management. Not winning doesn’t always mean bad management.

    • Not saying I like the agent but at least he’s letting the Pelicans know he’s walking at the end of next year. Giving them fair warning. Not sure what all this complaining is about. He’s being upfront and honest about where Davis it’s likely to re-sign and where he’s not.

      • Reflect

        I don’t have a problem that he told the Pelicans, I have a problem that he also told everyone else. Read the article. He intentionally made it public as a form of manipulation.

        • I understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. I just don’t understand how its manipulation?

          Who is he manipulating? The Pelicans? He’s letting them know you better trade this guy or he walks for nothing. !! The Celtics? He’s letting them know he will not re-sign there !!

        • knickscavsfan

          He did it the right way. He went to the Pelicans and told them of their desires and intentions. The GM then went behind his back to speak to AD which is a sports management “no no”. Once that happened and they perceived the Pels weren’t going to do anything then he leaked it.

      • knickscavsfan

        I was about to say the same thing. Great point. Look at what LBJ did to the Cavs. He never committed to them past the last year of his deal. If he had, MAYBE, MAYBE, the Cavs would’ve discussed with both Paul and LBJ the possibility of a trade so they could at least gather some assets.

        Also, let’s pretend AD/Paul never demanded a trade. One of two things are almost a certainty to happen.

        a) The Pelican’s, more than likely would gauge whether or not AD was amicable to an extension to stay and if told “No” then they almost definetly would trade him to collect assets.

        b) AD doesn’t commit one way or the other. Leaves them walking into his final year with no idea as to whether or not he wants to stay and once he’s fufilled his obligations to the Pelican’s, walks away and they get nothing at all and still is looked at as the villain.

        The mistake made was the Pelican’s GM leaking the trade talks to the public thus creating the drama among the Laker players. Teams are always going to do what’s in their best interest and if they knew AD was going to walk away in FA and a team like the Memphis Grizzlies offered a package the Pels couldn’t refuse then AD would spend his last year under contract in a city he has no desire to stay in. On the other side, AD pays Paul so Paul does what AD asks and takes the arrows in the back for it. That’s the business folks. Paul didn’t create the game he’s just playing it.

        • Reflect

          Again, read the article. Rich Paul admits in plain language that he is the one that leaked everything, not the team. That’s the part I take issue with.

          • knickscavsfan

            And again, read the article. He said he went to mngmt, they didn’t get back to him directly and tried to circumvent his role as agent by imploring AD to stay. Once that happened, he went public with it.

            • Reflect

              Teams aren’t obligated to honor trade requests, but players ARE obligated to honor the contracts they already signed. It doesn’t matter what managements response was.

              • What about teams? By your logic teams are obligated to honor the contracts they give to players, but they don’t, they always try to trade players, do they ask them if they wanna be traded?
                At the end of the day, no one cares about teams, I watch the NBA to see super athletes doing unbelievable things, don’t care which teams play, all is about the players.
                Funny how players must have loyalty but teams not, can’t stand this logic at all!

              • knickscavsfan

                I seem to remember it was the Pelican’s that decided not to play AD as much because they didn’t want to risk injury prior to a trade. If not traded then AD will play for the Pelicans which is what Paul said. So what are you talking about? If the Pelican’s don’t trade him then AD will go about the business of being a NBA player and walk once the season is done. How is that hard to grasp? He’s not threatning not to play or not to show up for camp.

  5. OCTraveler

    This “I want it now” mantra is really annoying. Why should the Lakers (or anyone) open their cupboard and give away 2 or 3 players and draft picks to rent a player for 12 months and then see him walk away?

    The Lakers would be better to better identify their needs – shooters, rebounders and defenders

    • The agent is being upfront and honest about their intentions. What’s wrong with that? Don’t trade away half your team for a 1-year rental. I think that’s a fair warning 2 Boston for 1. Nothing wrong with that.

    • knickscavsfan

      What are you missing? Paul doesn’t control what Magic is offering to the Pelican’s. He has no say in that. AD is 1 year away from FA and they basically told the Pels they have no desire to stay and if they wish to trade AD for assets then these are the teams he would entertain extension talks with once he reaches FA. That seems to be transparent. It hurts but at least they are putting the Pels in a position to get something back and at the same time warning teams not on their list that if they did trade or AD it would likely be a “one and done” 1 year rental.

    • Matt Kimball

      He is not a scumbag if he is your agent. His job is to take care of his client, not anything else.

      You want an absolute shark as your agent, the best agents are always sharks. Case in point, Scott Boras is a complete scumbag, unless he works for you, and then he makes you very rich.

  6. Matt Kimball

    He is not a scumbag if he is your agent. His job is to take care of his client, not anything else.

    You want an absolute shark as your agent, the best agents are always sharks. Case in point, Scott Boras is a complete scumbag, unless he works for you, and then he makes you very rich.

      • knickscavsfan

        An agent is like a great criminal defense lawyer. They might be scumbags but as soon as it’s your @ss facing charges they become the 1st person you call.

  7. kenleyfornia2

    Calling Rich Paul a scumbag is dumb. Transparency only helps these teams.

  8. hoosierhysteria

    Send AD to knicks. They deserve each other. He can learn to string Dolan’s guitars.

  9. mhdunbar99

    Arrogant AD “….only wants to play for a winner” ….next, “only wants to play for a loser (LA or NY)” ….next “I don’t pick out my own clothes (Lebron does!)”. Pelicans – trade this wishy washy egomaniac away!

    • knickscavsfan

      So if you acknowledge that he’s willing to play for “bad” teams and “good” teams then how can you draw any conclusion and call him arrogant? You’re contradicting yourself. In reality, both the Lakers and Knicks are teams that missed the playoffs. AD hasn’t said anything ….at all. His agent submitted a list of locations he’d be amicable to sign an extension with. A team like the GSW or Philly were not names mentioned so how can you say he “only want to play or a winner”. He also said he’d go to Boston if his friend Kyrie was there. Stop buying into the narrative some want to create.

  10. imindless

    Reading that washington might be 3rd team….

    Lakers receive: Anthony Davis

    Washington receives: lonzo ball + 4th pick

    New orleans receives: bradley beal + brandon ingram + 9th overall (washington)

    Fundamentally this trade makes new orleans much better. Imagine a lineup

    Bol bol (9th pick)


    • knickscavsfan

      I don’t like that deal for the Pelicans. They are NOT going to be a playoff contender in 2 years. By then Ingram will be a RFA next season and Beal will be a FA the following year. So they can lose both Ingram and Beal in 2 years. I’d be much more interested in a deal with the Knicks where they can likely get the #3 (Barrett), Mitchell Robinson (3 years on his rookie deal), Knox (3 years on his rookie deal) and probably more (Dennis Smith, Mavs 2020 1st rnd pick, etc). From the Lakers they can apparently get some combo of Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Hart and the #4 overall). That’s a much better long-term package and allows Zion to mature and grow with the others.

  11. x%sure

    Paul stated to Demps, then Demps called Davis instead of Benson, which broke an agent’s rule, but does it break a CBA rule? Going public is a pretty drastic response. The article called it “the nuclear option”.

    But at the time I thought that he thought that public pressure would help in getting things done by Feb.7. He said it would be a win for everyone, because Davis had more trade value then than he would now or next Feb.

    Some people like for there to be only one reason. Also… That plan did not work out.

  12. Simple Fan

    It says Rich Paul said the Pelicans screwed AD by talking to AD before they talked to Paul. Paul says Demps talked to AD wrongfully. Then they went public. What’s drastic about it?

  13. Simple Fan

    I don’t think that Paul is mad that team owner Benson didn’t talk to AD before Demps got back to Paul…

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