The New Orleans Pelicans officially closed out their 2018-19 season last night, falling to the Golden State Warriors 112-103. The season was a trying one for New Orleans, as it went from a playoff team to a lottery-bound one, all while dealing with the mid-season storyline of Anthony Davis' trade request.
On Wednesday, Davis addressed local media in his exit interview. He remains under contract for the Pelicans, who are also searching for a new GM after firing Dell Demps roughly a week after the NBA trade deadline (when Davis was not moved). Davis told reporters that he's not worried about who the next GM of the team is, but that he wants to speak with whomever that is about his trade request.
"I'm under contract still," Davis said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. "I have a year left. Obviously it's a possibility it could happen. I don't have ill will towards anybody. I know that it's a possibility that next year I could be here as well. So I can't be mad if I'm here next year.
"Seeing what happens. Seeing who the Pelicans make their GM and having a conversation with that person about the future. My time here has always been great. I love playing here. It's something that I will definitely hold in my heart forever, but the next step is waiting on the Pelicans [to fill] that GM job."
Davis acknowledged there was a possibility he could be with the Pelicans next season (he is under contract for 2019-20 and has a player option for 2020-21). He also said, "you never know what could happen later in your career," when asked about playing for the Pelicans again should he be traded soon.
The likely end of the Davis era in New Orleans arrived unceremoniously. The disgruntled six-time All-Star, who missed his seventh straight game with what the team has listed as back spasms, wore a T-shirt with the famous Looney Tunes sign off, “That’s All Folks,” written across the chest. As he walked down the tunnel toward the locker room after the game, he gave one fan a high-five.
Anthony Davis just showed up to the Smoothie King Center in a “That’s all Folks!” t-shirt.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) April 9, 2019
This is gonna be a fun night, guys. pic.twitter.com/vvJCsc4IIV
This morning, Davis explained why he wore that shirt in what could be his final game with the team.
"I didn't choose it. I actually didn't choose it. It was hanging for me already when I put my clothes on," Davis said.
When asked if he knows who hung it up for him, Davis said: "No, I'm not sure."
When the game ended, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry described Davis as “a great kid” who “got some bad advice,” referring to Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James and who orchestrated a public, mid-season trade demand for which Davis was fined $50,000.
“But there’s nothing wrong with A.D.,” Gentry added. “He’s a good, solid guy with good character.”
News of the Pelicans beginning their search for a new GM circulated recently, with several names in the mix. Among them are Pelicans interim general manager Danny Ferry, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, Golden State assistant GM Larry Harris, Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Trajan Langon, Houston Rockets assistant GM Gersson Rosas and interim Washington president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard.
New Orleans' next GM is expected to oversee a Davis trade -- which could take place as early as this offseason -- that has the potential to set the course of the franchise for years to come. That person also could decide the fate of Gentry, who has coached the team the last four seasons and oversaw the team's run to the 2018 Western Conference semifinals.
Overall this season, Davis averaged 25.9 points, 12 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. He appeared in 56 games, a career-low, and saw downturns in his overall shooting (51.7 percent) and 3-point shooting (33.1 percent) from 2018-19. Following the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Davis never played more than 34 minutes in a game.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.