02/19 10:58 CST Kareem: Players like Anthony Davis have value and hold power
Kareem: Players like Anthony Davis have value and hold power
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) --- There was no social media or around-the-clock basketball
coverage in October 1974, on the night when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar looked up from
his dinner plate and told the Milwaukee Bucks that he would like to be traded.
As such, hardly anybody knew initially about the demand.
If anyone understands what Anthony Davis is thinking, asking for a trade out of
New Orleans with nearly 1 1/2 seasons left on his contract, it's Abdul-Jabbar.
His trade request came with two years left on his contract in Milwaukee.
Eventually, he got his wish in the summer that followed his ask and got traded
to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I think that the players have power because they have value," Abdul-Jabbar
said. "The players that teams know that they can win with are going to be in a
position to dictate what they want to do."
And while few people would disagree with that, the fact that Davis' request
went public --- and the impact it had on the both the Pelicans and the Lakers,
the team that appeared to go after the six-time All-Star the hardest before the
trade deadline came and went earlier this month without a move being
consummated --- did not sit well with a number of the league's former players
at All-Star weekend.
And it isn't about the money. Top players like Davis, who will likely get his
trade request fulfilled this summer are going to be well compensated one way or
the other. But some think he might have been better served keeping it quiet
"I just think it's a situation where they needed to keep it in house," Hall of
Fame guard Rick Barry said. "Just talk to the owners. Talk amongst yourselves.
Airing your dirty laundry and putting stuff out there ... I just don't
understand why you want to get into a situation like that that does nobody any
good and can only cause problems."
Like Abdul-Jabbar, and like Davis, Barry also forced a trade. Back in his ABA
days, he made it known that when the Washington Caps were moving to Norfolk,
Virginia, he wanted no part of playing there. So Barry got traded to the New
York Nets, the entire trade "saga" lasting no more than a week or two and all
done during an offseason.
Davis asking in-season, Barry said, had a negative effect on both the Pelicans
and the Lakers.
"Doing it a year before, I don't understand," Barry said. "Hopefully they won't
continue doing it that far in advance."
Actually, that is nothing new.
Kyrie Irving had two years, plus an option year, left on his deal with
Cleveland when he asked for a trade and eventually got moved to the Boston
Celtics. Paul George had a year left when he told Indiana that he wanted out.
Both of those requests went public, and it could be argued that the Cavaliers
and Pacers were ailed, at least somewhat, by losing leverage since it was no
secret the superstars wanted to be moved.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doesn't like trade demands, especially ones that
go public. When the NBA adopted its most recent collective bargaining
agreement, Silver said the notion was that teams would have the option to
extend player deals a year early to avoid being blindsided by requests by those
players to leave.
It hasn't worked that way, with Davis just being the latest example.
"The law of unintended consequences," Silver said. "It hasn't worked precisely
as we had planned."
Irving had a title with the Cavaliers. Kawhi Leonard had a championship with
San Antonio when he asked to be moved, and ultimately got his way. George still
doesn't have a championship, though flirted with one plenty of times when he
was in Indiana only to be thwarted on annual basis by the Miami Heat.
Davis doesn't have one. He hasn't been close. New Orleans went to the second
round of the playoffs last year, a great sign of progress. This year the
Pelicans have plummeted back toward the bottom of the Western Conference. And
Davis realizes that his window for winning and being elite won't last forever,
so mindful of his legacy he wants to be moved.
The great players are rich and going to be rich no matter where they play. The
ring is also very much the thing, and Davis knows helping lead a team to a
championship is vital to how he will be remembered.
"I just want to win," Davis said at All-Star weekend.
The Pelicans haven't done enough of it, and this year was the wrong time for
their winning percentage to fall off a cliff. So Davis made the ask, and Hall
of Famer Dave Cowens said that's fine --- as long as he accepts whatever comes
next, whether it's good or bad.
"If a player wants to usurp or influence a decision on personnel, then the
accountability for that move if it doesn't work out, that's what it's about,"
Cowens said. "You can't have union and management doing the same things. ... To
me, it starts with the accountability. That's the biggest thing."
Abdul-Jabbar said he understands why Davis' trade request is getting so much
It's because Davis --- averaging 28 points and 13 rebounds this season --- is
"That's always going to be the case," Abdul-Jabbar said. "The most talented
people out there in the job market are going to get the most attention."
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