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Davis informs Pelicans he wants to fly away
2019-03-21 
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis shoots next to Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of an NBA game in Portland, Oregon on Jan 18. AP

NEW ORLEANS - Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans.

But if a trade happens, it'll be on the Pelicans' schedule.

The five-time All-Star has told the team he wants to be traded to a championship contender and he will not sign an extension with New Orleans, agent Rich Paul told Associated Press on Monday.

ESPN first reported Davis' trade demand last week.

It's a move that will resonate around the NBA and have teams trying to figure out how they can put together a package good enough to land Davis. But the Pelicans made clear in a written statement on Monday that they're in no rush to cut a deal.

"We will do this on our terms and our timeline," the Pelicans said, adding that they will only accept a deal that "makes the most sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization".

The NBA trade deadline is Feb 7, and if the Pelicans don't get a deal they want by then, they're prepared to wait.

"He plans on playing out the season," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said while Davis was at the team's training headquarters in Pelicans gear, working out and getting treatment on the injured left index finger that has kept him out of four games.

"AD is a professional 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 put our team in position to win games."

The Pelicans have also asked the NBA to "strictly enforce" any tampering rules associated with the pursuit of Davis, who 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, which will be played on Feb 17 in Charlotte.

"It's the business of basketball," said New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday, who said Davis is"90 percent" of the reason why he decided two summers ago to sign a five-year, $126 million contract to remain in New Orleans.

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. We only have a short amount of time, so why not do what you want?"

Trade chatter has ramped up this season, especially after Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James - who is represented by Paul, just as Davis is - included the New Orleans star on a list of players that he would love to play with.

James' comments were construed in some circles as campaigning for Davis.

Boston would almost certainly be a place that makes sense for Davis; the Celtics are a contender and have more than enough assets to make a good deal for New Orleans.

But the Celtics cannot trade for Davis under NBA rules until July 1, unless they also trade away Kyrie Irving - which likely won't happen.

Irving is a factor because of what's known as the 'Rose Rule', which stipulates that NBA teams cannot trade for more than one player who has signed an extension.

The Celtics could sign Irving in July and then trade for Davis, but until then, unless they move Irving, Davis won't be in Boston.

That would point to the Lakers as another possible destination for a trade.

The Lakers have James, which probably means they're attractive to Davis as well. But when James spoke of Davis last month, he shrugged off the notion he did anything illicit and insisted star players wanting to play with other stars is just common sense.

"Come on, guys," James told reporters last month. "It's not rocket science."

A year ago at this time, the Pelicans had perhaps the most dominant frontcourt in the NBA with Davis lining up with DeMarcus Cousins. Then Cousins tore his Achilles tendon, and wound up signing this past summer with Golden State. The Pelicans responded by opening the season with a surprisingly lopsided victory at Houston and started 4-0 before a series of injuries appeared to undermine them.

It has been an interesting few days for New Orleans sports fans. Saints fans are still reeling from a non-call for pass interference last week that played a major role in their team losing the NFC championship game to the Los Angeles Rams and being denied a Super Bowl berth.

Associated Press

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