There has been much discussion about Anthony Davis’ future, and there will continue to be, so long as the New Orleans Pelicans continue to put a fringe playoff team around one of the NBA’s best players.
The latest round of speculation circled around Davis saying Kevin Garnett’s recent comment — that his only regret is not asking for a trade out of Minnesota earlier in his career — really “makes you think.”
“Not gonna lie,” said Davis. “It makes you think, because you’re wondering if you’re following in the same path. But then again, you’re like, oh, this year could be the year. You don’t know. So, you’ve just got to take it year-by-year and just see, see where the team is going, what direction they want to go to and just see where their head is.”
But Davis is here to calm the fears of Pelicans fans:
New Orleans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Davis understands that the Pelicans have been snakebitten since they last made the playoffs in 2015. Injuries to key contributors submarined their chances the past two seasons, and they were hitting their stride this year when All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
While the Pelicans hold a loose grasp on the Western Conference’s eighth seed — a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers and two losses better than the hard-charging Utah Jazz — it appears another year of the max contract extension Davis signed in 2015 will be squandered sooner rather than later.
But Davis, with his pledge to fulfill that contract, which runs through 2021, is willing to ride it out.
Or is he?
Well, that’s a whole lot different than, “I’m here until 2021.” Several parts about that statement — “take it year by year,” “at some point you want to win,” and “of course Cuz is a big factor” — have to give you pause. So much so that you reread the first part of his comments, and the “I don’t plan on leaving in the next couple of years or anything like that” part starts to stick out a little more than you’d like.
The Pelicans will likely bring Cousins back this summer, if only because the Achilles injury will limit his options in free agency and salary cap-strapped New Orleans has no other option to add a player of his caliber. There are concerns about handing a hefty contract to a 6-foot-11 guy who just blew out his Achilles and has a history of losing basketball games, but at least they can satisfy Davis in that regard.
The bigger question — the one that has followed Davis for several seasons now — is at one point taking it year by year and wanting to win become “this is the year” and “wanting to win now.” Of course, Davis remains under contract in New Orleans, but if we learned anything from Kyrie Irving this past summer, where there’s a will, there’s a way to convince a team to trade a 25-year-old superstar.
It doesn’t appear we’ve reached that point, so nothing’s changed, really. Speculation is still in order.
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