New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who requested a trade earlier this season, said on LeBron James’ HBO show that he’s asserting a greater degree of control over his career.
“All the media coverage [is] around me, and now I’m getting a chance to take over my career and say what I want to say and do what I want to do,” Davis said on an episode of “The Shop with LeBron James” that aired on HBO on Friday. “So now you see everybody [saying], ‘All right, I see AD changing.’ Everybody’s telling me, ‘You’re growing up. It’s about time to take care of your business, take care of your career.’ So now, as a player, as the CEO of my own business, I’ve got the power. I’m doing what I want to do and not what somebody tells me to do.”
Through his agent, Rich Paul, Davis informed the Pelicans in late January that he would not sign an extension with the club and requested a trade.
James’ team, the Los Angeles Lakers, attempted to acquire Davis before the NBA trade deadline without success.
The Lakers and other teams, including the Boston Celtics, are expected to re-engage the Pelicans on potential trades for Davis in the offseason.
James, who is also represented by Paul, said on the HBO show that the narrative surrounding Davis has changed in the wake of his trade demand.
“Seven years in the league, nobody’s ever said anything. No media, no fan, not a fan, not a friend, not nobody’s ever said anything negative about AD,” he said. “But you can tell, when the narrative changed, when you don’t do what they want you to do. That’s why we’ve got to continue to control the narrative too and continue to back each other up because they have so many people at the top of these food chains that will control your narrative.”
James later added, addressing the 26-year-old Davis, “As great as he’s been in our league for these last five years, I think now he’s starting to see the momentum shift on who he is.”
Davis’ minutes have been limited since the All-Star break, as the Pelicans try to limit the risk of any potential injury to Davis for the rest of the season.
Davis, who can become a free agent in 2020, said the uncertainty in the aftermath of his trade demand has been challenging.
“It is tough because you just don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “I have one year left on contract, so I’m not sure what they’re gonna do. Obviously, I stated my intentions. But I did that this year and they [said], ‘No, we’re going to keep you here.’ So for me, it’s just not knowing what’s going to happen.”
Davis also reflected on being booed by Pelicans fans in his first home game following the trade demand.
“When I walked into the arena and I heard it, I was like, ‘Damn, seven years I’ve been here, all the stuff I did for you, all the community stuff.’ And so it bothered me,” he said. “And then when we tipped it up, it was over. I was like, ‘I’m about to get 30.'”
Davis scored 32 points in the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and was met with a mix of boos and cheers.
“When I caught it, they booed,” Davis said. “Then when we started losing, and I went on a run myself, they were like, ‘We want AD.’ And I was like, ‘You’ve got to make up your mind. You can’t boo me and cheer me.'”