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Rich Paul: Anthony Davis hiring me doesn’t mean he wants to leave Pelicans

Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 21: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts to a foul by the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of Game Four of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs at the Smoothie King Center on April 21, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Pelicans defeated the Trail Blazers 131-123 to sweep the series 4-0. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Anthony Davis hiring Rich Paul as his agent set off a firestorm of speculation about Davis leaving the Pelicans to join LeBron James on the Lakers.

Paul and Davis are trying squelch it.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
A star player switching agents sometimes can create the implication that he wants to change teams. Paul, who represents more than 20 NBA players, told ESPN that is not the case and he plans to meet with Pelicans officials soon.

Brett Martel of the Associated Press:

Davis said the move was aimed primarily at helping him become the “the most dominant player in the league.”

“It was just for where I am right now in my career — what I’m trying to do — I thought the change was necessary,” Davis said Monday, when the Pelicans held media day on the eve of training camp. “That’s all it was.”

Not that he can’t get better, but Davis already says he’s the NBA’s best player:


In my eyes, I’m the best player in the game. And I really feel that way. Nobody can tell me different.

This is all fairly unconvincing. LeBron is better than Davis. Davis disrupting the status quo – which included repeated declarations of his desire to win in New Orleans – with an agent change only adds more uncertainty.

Until Davis surpasses LeBron on the court and signs a super-max extension this summer, there will be major doubts about these claims.

As far as basketball performance, that’s earned. Davis must improve to surpass LeBron – and escape the Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook crowd (and hold off younger players like Giannis Antetokounmpo).

The speculation about Davis’ future isn’t always based on facts, but it’s also a reality of being a superstar in a small market. It’ll be hard for Davis and Paul to change the narrative until the super-max extension is in front of them.