NEW ORLEANS — All-Star forward Anthony Davis said Friday that playing for an NBA championship is his priority now, which is why he has asked the New Orleans Pelicans to trade him.
Davis spoke with reporters after Pelicans practice in his first public comments since telling the organization last weekend that he would not sign a new contract with the team.
“I feel like it’s my time,” Davis said. “I gave the city, organization, fans everything I feel like I could. I don’t know how long I’m going to play this game. People’s careers are short, and I feel like it’s my time to move on.”
Davis, a seven-year veteran, who was named an All-Star for the sixth time Thursday, is sidelined by a sprained left index finger that will cause his to miss a seventh consecutive game Saturday at San Antonio.
“The hand feels better,” Davis said. “Whenever I get cleared to play, I intend on playing, but hopefully within the next couple days. Hopefully, after the game (Saturday), they can re-evaluate it and we can go from there.”
But Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry wouldn’t commit to playing Davis when he is healthy, saying, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday. In addition to Saturday’s game, the Pelicans play at home against the Indiana Pacers on Monday and at Chicago to face the Bulls on Wednesday.
Davis said he has not asked the Pelicans to trade him to any specific team, although reports have said his preferred destination is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks also have been mentioned prominently in media reports.
“That’s on the Pelicans organization,” Davis said. I never gave them a timetable, never gave them a destination.”
Davis said the Pelicans have shown him “nothing but respect … and I feel like I need to do the same thing for them.”
“I wanted to do it now just for the simple fact that they have enough time to make the best decision for the organization,” Davis said. “This has nothing to do with the organization, teammates, fans, community. Nothing. This is me. This is my decision – something I wanted to do.”
Davis was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Tuesday because his agent went public with his trade demand.
“Is what it is,” Davis said of the fine. “I can’t do anything about that. … Honestly my representation didn’t drop the story or leak the story or anything like that. Someone else gave it to a reporter before they called my agent and asked him, ‘Was this true?’ And we never wanted to leak it to the media. We wanted to do everything in-house.”
–By Les East (@Les_East), Field Level Media