The price to pry Anthony Davis away from the Pelicans for the 2019-20 season is astronomical. And even if a team pushes its chips to the center of the table and pulls off a deal, it may only be temporary.
In an extensive interview with Sports Illustrated, Rich Paul, Davis’ agent, said his client will test free agency in the summer of 2020 regardless of which team he plays for next season.
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul said. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
Well all right.
A wake-up call from a disappointed father. A brotherhood with LeBron forged from a Warren Moon jersey. A growing roster of stars under the Klutch banner.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 12, 2019
As impactful as Davis will be for whatever team lands his services, he’s not Paul’s marquee client — that’s still LeBron James, who said in December it would be “incredible” to play alongside Davis.
Though Paul said his goal this summer with Davis isn’t to get him to Los Angeles to be James’ running mate, he sure made it seem preferred.
“My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers. Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?
“So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.? If it was L.A. — I never said ‘L.A.’ But there’s no negative to that. Who gives a s— what you’re talking about, about me trying to help LeBron out? No, I’m not. I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”
Paul also talked up the possibility of Davis on the Knicks: “They got a tradition. It’s a big market — not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that?”
Paul informed the Pelicans in January that Davis wanted to be moved, but nothing materialized before the trade deadline. Now the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, Nets and Celtics are expected to make the strongest push for Davis.
But Paul has made it abundantly clear, Davis will weigh all his options this time next year.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul said. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
You can read the full Sports Illustrated piece here.