The 3:00 Feb. 7 trade deadline is approaching and there has yet to be an Anthony Davis trade in the works. The New Orleans Pelicans star has let his demands of being traded be known, and if it doesn’t happen soon, it will likely happen over the summer.
No team wants to let go of a player of the caliber of Davis, and it was evident with the hardball tactics displayed by the Pelicans front office. The Pelicans garnered interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and asked for everything outside of the pillows in their house in exchange for Davis. The bold asking price tactic would pay off, and here we are, with no Davis trade yet.
But the Davis situation has garnered more public sympathy than the likes of the trade demands imposed by Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard. The Pelicans were granted every opportunity to build an adequate team around Davis. Davis, drafted by the Pelicans in 2012, only had one notable teammate in DeMarcus Cousins.
But Cousins Achilles injury in January 2018 appeared to the Pelicans as damaged goods, and opportunities in the draft and free agency were squandered away. We could place blame on New Orleans being a small market, in theory. But like LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers, and others, the Pelicans put too much of a burden on their uber-talented star.
Perhaps, this reasoning for Davis wanting out is simpler to understand than Irving and Leonard’s dilemma. Both players wanted out of the infrastructure of their team’s culture. Irving played second-fiddle while his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, dynamics was placed solely on LeBron James.
Leonard was upset with how the San Antonio Spurs handled his injury and held out in all but nine games last season. But he was likely ready to shed the system player label he garnered as he blossomed into a star. Both Irving and Leonard were in great situations but wanted to assert their independence. But the price for their trade demands came off as whiny and ungrateful to the public.
Both the Spurs and the Cavaliers acted swiftly to meet the demands of their star players. But the common denominator for both instances is that their trade requests occurred in the offseason. Currently, the Pelicans are looking to hold out until the offseason before they attempt to trade Davis. After the NBA Draft, there will be more clarity when it comes to team’s and their assets. But it appears that the Pelicans understand that Davis has done all he could, and the trade is best for both parties. Hence, why he has been instructed to sit out even though he’s healthy to play right now.
In the end, it’s evident that Davis has exhausted his time in New Orleans. Irving had the perfect player to play next to and role in Cleveland. Leonard had the perfect system and coach to play for. While Davis had the player (Cousins) for nearly 11 months, it was squandered away via free agency. He never has had the coach, system or ideal situation consistently that Leonard and Irving wanted to break free from. For Davis, the opportunity to start from scratch with a team that’s a contender is much better than being in New Orleans.
Whether a trade happens soon or in the summer, the trade of Anthony Davis will shake the NBA world. But unlike Leonard and Irving, it will likely be understood by most NBA fans.