The Los Angeles Lakers made a massive move last summer when they brought superstar big man Anthony Davis to town. He will join LeBron James to form what should be one of the very best duos in the NBA as the Lakers hope to return to the playoffs after a six-year absence.
The trade took months to develop, with both the Lakers and Pelicans negotiating prior to the trade deadline last February when Davis requested a trade to LA, but ultimately failing to make a deal. At the time, the sentiment was that the Pelicans weren’t serious about making a deal with the Lakers.
Finally, after negotiating with multiple teams, the Pelicans accepted the Lakers’ offer of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, 3 first-round picks (including the 4th overall pick in last summer’s draft) and a pick swap. By parting with most of their young core to land Davis, the Lakers gave the Pelicans a huge jump-start in their rebuilding process, which was already off to an amazing start when they landed top prospect Zion Williamson.
With the deal done, many Pelicans fans felt anger towards Davis despite the massive return. To them, Davis betrayed them with his push to get to the Lakers, and they didn’t appreciate him lowering his trade market by refusing to re-sign with all but a handful of teams.
New Pelicans Vice President David Griffin echoed the feelings of Pelicans fans when, despite not mentioning Davis by name, he took shots at the star forward for his desire to get to Los Angeles. On this episode of the LN Podcast, host Trevor Lane detailed why Griffin’s comments were uncalled for and out of line.
For example, had Davis simply played out his contract with the Pelicans and left in free agency next summer, the team would have been left with nothing. Perhaps the Pelicans would have been motivated to trade him if Davis turned down the max contract they were sure to offer him, but even then, his trade market would have been further depressed with that much less time remaining on his current deal.
Davis’ trade request going public made for a challenging situation for all parties involved, but setting that aside, Davis arguably helped the Pelicans by informing them early that he would be leaving in free agency. While Griffin and Pelicans fans aren’t thrilled that he decided to play elsewhere, it could have been much worse had Davis wanted to hurt New Orleans on his way out.
That being the case, as a representative of the Pelicans, perhaps it would be wise for Griffin to show a bit more restraint when commenting on Davis. He may have created some ill-will with his trade request, but he also helped put the Pelicans in the enviable position they are in now with a roster stocked with young talent.