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“You don’t know how long you’ll play this game,” Davis said, per Chris Hagan of Fox 8. “Feel like I’m in my prime and playing at an elite level. I want to take advantage of that.”
According to Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune, Davis revealed that his camp “never wanted it to go public” but that a reporter called his agent, Rich Paul, and approached the subject.
Speculation about Davis potentially leaving New Orleans began when he joined Paul and Klutch Sports back in September. However, he told reporters on Friday that he didn’t switch representation with the intent of forcing his way out of town.
Ultimately, he felt as though after six-plus seasons, he has accomplished as much as he possibly can with the franchise.
“It’s my time,” Davis said, per Lopez. “I feel like I gave this city all I could.”
Despite the big man’s rise to NBA stardom, the Pelicans have made the playoffs just twice in his six seasons, advancing no further than the second round during that span. Now 25 years old, winning is his top priority.
If Davis stayed in New Orleans, he would be eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million supermax extension. That figure drops should he be traded or leave as a free agent. He told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes back in December that he’d “take legacy over money” for his future, and that’s a sentiment he echoed on Friday.
“It’s more about legacy over money,” Davis said, per Lopez. “When I’m done playing or leave this earth, it’ll be about my legacy.”
Despite reports of a wish list, Davis has not provided the Pelicans with a list of preferred destinations, according to Hagan. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported earlier on Friday that Davis is eyeing the Los Angeles Lakers, with the New York Knicks also a target. Charania noted the Boston Celtics would be viewed as a “rental” option.
A finger injury has kept Davis out of the lineup since Jan. 18. When asked if it’s possible the star had played his last game in a Pelicans uniform amid trade rumors, New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry was non-committal:
“That’s a hard thing to answer. I don’t really know how to answer that.”
— Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry on whether or not Anthony Davis will play another game with New Orleans. (via @msinger) https://t.co/Evgap9tOoc
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Wednesday that the team is considering shelving Davis for the remainder of the season if no deal is reached prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Davis let it be known that he intends to play when healthy but acknowledged that the Pelicans “have every right” to hold him out if it’s in the best interest of the franchise. Sidelining Davis would not only potentially improve the team’s draft pick, but it would decrease his risk of injury.
Davis is currently under contract through the 2019-20 season. While a situation like this is not ideal for either side, he intends to do his best to represent the Pelicans for as long as he remains with the team.
“I’m going to remain professional,” Davis told reporters. “I’m under contract, until my time ends here, that’s what I’ll do.”