Warriors coach Steve Kerr is concerned with how the Lakers handled their recruitment of Anthony Davis.
The saga was well noted, with Davis publicly wanting a trade from the Pelicans and Los Angeles blatantly going after Davis near the trade deadline in February before negotiations with the Pelicans fell through.
For Kerr, that left a bad taste in his mouth, even though other players have negotiated their way to different teams. Kerr said Davis’ situation is different because he had a couple years left on his contract with New Orleans.
“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation,” Kerr said on The Warriors Insider Podcast. “Where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.
“When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans. And then (once the contract runs out) it’s completely your right to leave as a free agent. But if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract.
“If you come to an agreement with the team that, hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways, that’s one thing. But the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking — and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league.”
The way the Lakers came to acquire Davis was messy and made everyone look bad — Davis, his agent (who reportedly leaked the news that Davis wanted to be traded) and how the Lakers and Pelicans dealt with the situation.
Eventually Davis got his wish and joined Los Angeles this offseason, but only after he played on a part-time basis with New Orleans after the initial trade rumors.
“As a former player, I would always sort of lean toward player empowerment, guys who have earned their right to free agency,” Kerr said. “If they want to make a move for their own careers, I’m all for it. They’ve earned that right.
“My only issue is when a player who is under contract decides not to honor the contract. That’s a problem. That’s something that can really affect the league.”
Kerr cited LeBron James and Kevin Durant, both of whom moved on to different teams in 2018 and 2019, respectively, as the proper way to transition to another team in the league.
“There’s a way to move and a way to not move,” Kerr said. ”What LeBron did, played out his contract. What Kevin did both when he arrived at Golden State and when he left. You sign contracts, you play them out and you move on. That’s how it should be done.
“But it’s a little disturbing that there has been some action that happens before contracts are up, where teams are sort of held hostage and the league is sort of held hostage. I’m not a big fan of that. That’s damaging for everybody.”