Anthony Davis is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and did it by taking the reins of his NBA career.
The 26-year-old forward sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after his introductory press conference Saturday and gave more details on why he doesn’t regret asking for a trade in the middle of the season.
Davis able to ‘take control’ of his career
Davis wanted to take control of his life and career over the past season, his seventh in the league. The six-time All-Star signed a five-year extension in July 2015 with the Pelicans, who drafted him first overall in 2012. His contract runs until 2021, but the final season is a player option.
Because I allowed people to tell me what to do and advise me to do this or that. And now, by me being able to take control of my career, any decision that I make, you know — I can sleep at night. I'm good. That was the biggest thing for me. I was having a lot of regrets and thinking, I should have done it my way. Or, I should have done this differently. But now it's like, when I do it my way — I'm able to sleep at night and not care what other people's opinions are.
The Pelicans made the playoffs twice during Davis’ time there. Both runs ended in losses to the Golden State Warriors, first in the 2015 Western Conference first round and again in the 2018 conference semifinals.
Davis: ‘I’m a grown man’
Davis asked for a trade in the middle of the season, setting off a complicated timeline that started in January. It was blamed by many for the second-half crumble of both the Pelicans and Lakers when a potential trade package wasn’t agreed upon at the deadline.
Davis naturally took a lot of criticism for trying to force his way out in the middle of the year, but he told Nichols there isn’t anything he wished he had done differently. He said he knew he wasn’t going to sign an extension with New Orleans and thought asking for a trade then was best for both himself and for the Pelicans to get “the best package available.”
“ But for me, I've been in the league long enough. I'm a grown man. I know what I want.”
Pelinka called Davis every 30-45 minutes
Davis found out about the trade as everyone else did: by checking social media. He had let calls from his agent, Rich Paul, go to voicemail while he was watching a movie and when he couldn’t get back in touch with him, he scrolled Instagram.
He’s also missed calls from Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who had been in constant communication with his two superstars. Pelinka insisted to Nichols the calls came every 30 to 45 minutes during the first week of free agency.
“Sometimes I had to tell him, like, ‘Rob, I'm in the movies.’ He'd be, like, ‘All right, well, call me as soon as you get out.’ But we're trying to put the best team around us, and I think he did a great job of doing it.”
Davis is only signed through the 2020-21 season and is focused solely on an NBA title. Sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that Davis will skip USA Basketball training camp and remove his name from consideration for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in September to focus on a championship run with the Lakers.
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