Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans.
And the NBA might soon see a blockbuster trade to come together.
Davis, a five-time All-Star, has told the Pelicans that he wants to be traded to a championship-contending team and will not sign an extension with New Orleans, agent Rich Paul told The Associated Press on Monday.
ESPN first reported Davis’ demand to be traded to a contender. It is a move that will resonate around the league, one that will have most – if not all – teams trying to see how they can put together a package good enough for the Pelicans to send Davis their way.
Davis is having the best season of his career, averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. He’ll almost certainly become a six-time All-Star later this week when the NBA announces the full rosters for this year’s game that will be played Feb. 17 in Charlotte.
Now it’s unclear if Davis will be there as a member of the Pelicans or not. The trade deadline is Feb. 7.
Davis was at the Pelicans’ training headquarters Monday, wearing team gear, working out and getting treatment on the sprained left index finger that has kep him out for four games. He declined through a team spokesman to speak with reporters, but coach Alvin Gentry said after practice that the team understands that Davis’ decision is “part of the business.”
“He plans on playing out the season,” Gentry said. “A.D. is a professional guy and he’s going to play as hard as he can once he gets well and we’re going to do the best we can to try put our team in position to win games.
“We’re going to do everything we can to do what’s best for the franchise.”
Gentry declined say whether Davis might be traded this season or later. There was no immediate comment from general manager Dell Demps, ownership or anyone else in the front office.
Guard Jrue Holiday said Davis has been “like a brother” to him and is “90 percent” of the reason he decided two summers ago to sign a five-year, $126 million contract to remain in New Orleans.
“It’s the business basketball,” Holiday said, recalling his own trade from Philadelphia to New Orleans in 2013. Holiday said “it felt like everything was close” in Philadelphia, “and all of a sudden, everybody’s gone. … I feel like you kind of have to be able to roll with the punches, be able to adapt and from there play as hard as you can.”
Holiday said attracting players to a relatively small market like New Orleans when a player of Davis’ caliber wants out “can definitely be hard … but I feel like people know our style, the way we play and if they want to be a part of that then they’ll come.”
The Pelicans play tonight at Houston.
In Indianapolis, where Golden State was playing the Pacers on Monday night, the Warriors’ Kevin Durant supported Davis’ trade demand.
“It’s not like the president is shutting down the government. It’s just basketball,” Durant said. “As players, we want guys to do exactly what they want to do in this league. They have a short amount of time. So why not do what you want?”
Davis hasn’t gotten past the second round of the playoffs since he’s been in New Orleans — and in four of his first six full seasons, the Pelicans didn’t qualify for the postseason at all.