Many in the NBA world have expressed strong opinions regarding the NBA’s “player empowerment” era, whether those opinions are good or bad. Most are NBA media members, but some NBA front office members have thrown their opinions into the fire that is the world of takes on the NBA. One recent NBA head coach to comment on the era was Steve Kerr, who had some choice words about the entire situation that led to Anthony Davis ending up on the Los Angeles Lakers. He had this to say on The Warriors Insider Podcast (transcribed by CBS Sports).
“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation, where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.
When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans. And then [once the contract runs out] it’s completely your right to leave as a free agent. But if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract.
If you come to an agreement with the team that, hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways, that’s one thing. But the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking — and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league.”
Anthony Davis had around a year and a half left on his contract when it was first made public that he wanted to be traded from the New Orleans Pelicans. Kerr believes it’s “bad for the league” and I guess I can see where he’s coming from. It is true that if you’re going to sign your name to a long-term commitment, you should know the risks of that said commitment going into it and should have the full intention to see that commitment to the end. That applies to the NBA as well as life in general.
But hey, the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t have to trade him. They, of course, didn’t have much leverage in the situation, but they ended up in that situation because of themselves. They had plenty of opportunities to surround Davis with a winner and keep him content in New Orleans. Sure, they’re a small market, but don’t try and tell me that the Milwaukee Bucks aren’t in a small market. They found the ability to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo with a championship contender and have kept him very happy in Milwaukee.
Also, Kerr is really going to call the Anthony Davis situation “groundbreaking”? It’s only been two years since Kyrie Irving asked for a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers with one year left on his deal, one year since Kawhi Leonard did the same with the San Antonio Spurs, and we are only a few weeks since Paul George forced a trade with three years (!!!) left on his deal!
Davis may have gone back on a commitment he made, but let’s not act like his situation was any crazier than other players’ situations in the past few years.