NEW YORK (AFP) – The New Orleans Pelicans confirmed Monday that forward Anthony Davis has asked to be traded, but say they won’t be “dictated to” when it comes to letting their star go.
Davis, a five-time All-Star and member of the 2012 London Olympic gold medal squad, won’t sign a contract extension and wants to be traded to an NBA contender before the league’s February 7 transfer deadline.
“This past weekend, Anthony Davis’ representatives informed us that Anthony does not wish to sign a contract extension with our team and subsequently has requested a trade,” the Pelicans said in a statement.
“Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization’s top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and fans and build our team for long-term success.”
“Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our terms and our timeline. One that makes the most sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization.”
The 25-year-old Davis, the top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, shares second in the NBA with 29.3 points a game and third in the league with 13.3 rebounds per contest. He also has 4.4 assists, 2.6 blocked shots and 1.7 steals a game this season for New Orleans.
At 22-28 with seven losses in their past eight games, the Pelicans are 13th of 15 clubs in the Western Conference, six games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff berth.
Davis, out since January 19 with a sprained left index finger but due back this week, could become a free agent in 2020 and sign a five-year contract extension worth $240 million after this season.
The New York Times reported that agent Rich Paul has not given the Pelicans any preference as to which team he wants to join. Paul said the decision was made ”to let them know by the deadline so they could do what’s best for the organization going forward.”
The Pelicans have missed the playoffs in four of six seasons since drafting Davis, but swept Portland in the first round of last season’s playoffs for their first postseason series triumph since 2008. New Orleans fell in the second round to eventual champion Golden State.
Two teams expected to be interested in Davis are the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, whose superstar LeBron James is also represented by Paul.
While the Pelicans now appear open to the idea of trading Davis, rather than risk losing him for nothing as a free agent, the team said it doesn’t want the process to become a free for all.
”We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction,” the Pelicans said, a reference to NBA rules prohibiting teams from trying to lure players who are under contract.