New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis will have a decision to make over the next several months. Eligible for a super-max five-year extension worth $239 million, Davis could opt to remain with the Pelicans long term.
At issue here is New Orleans’ inability to surround him with enough players to make the team a contender. It’s led to suggestions that the 25-year-old star will look to bolt for greener pastures once he hits free agency following the 2019-20 campaign.
In turn, this has led to speculation that the Pelicans might look to trade Davis before that comes to fruition.
In talking to Joe Vardon of The Athletic about his future contract and what Davis is looking for as his career progresses, the game’s most-skilled big man had this to say.
“I never said money wasn’t important. Somebody asked me about money or your legacy. In that case, your legacy lasts forever. Your money comes and goes, but for me I want to build a legacy,” Davis said in a long Q&A with Vardon. “In that case, if you have to choose between money or legacy, I think legacy wins every time, in my opinion.”
It goes without saying that the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement focuses on players re-signing with their original teams. If Davis were to move on to another squad during the summer of 2020, he’d be giving up a minimum of $80 million in cold hard cash.
Despite this, it seems that the five-time All-Star is more interested in his legacy and how he’ll be looked out years down the road than money. It’s pretty much the same thing we saw around the NBA nearly three years ago.
Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for the Warriors back in 2016, giving up a ton of cash in the process. Since then, he’s earned that back by being a star in one of the nation’s largest media markets and marketing himself within the local community.
New Orleans is not the smallish type market that Oklahoma City is. But it can’t compete with the likes of New York, Los Angeles or even the Bay Area.
More than this, it’s all about contention and championships for Davis. If he’s not feeling the direction of the Pelicans, there’s a decent chance Davis won’t re-sign with the team. If that becomes apparent during the 2019 offseason, we could witness one of the biggest trades in NBA history. Davis’ comments to The Athletic do nothing to dispel this notion.
New Orleans has pushed back against the idea of trading Davis at nearly every turn. He’s also suggested he’s happy with the Pelicans.
In no way does that change the dynamic here. Bigger markets and contenting teams will continue to show interest. It’s hard to pass up on that possibility, especially when we’re looking at the Lakers, Celtics and Warriors showing interest in the future Hall of Famer.
And if Davis believes legacy is more important than money, any upper-hand the Pelicans have from a financial perspective can now be thrown out the window.