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.)