Although it is not an official transaction just yet, the Los Angeles Lakers got the 2019 offseason rolling with their reported trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis in mid-June. The Lakers will reportedly send Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks to the Pelicans in a trade that is not expected to be ratified until July 6 at the earliest.
Since then, Lakers star LeBron James has reportedly given up his No. 23 jersey to Davis (who has worn that number his entire NBA career).
Despite all this news about Davis, nothing has been heard from Davis of late. That changed on Monday morning as Davis chatted with Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times about living in Los Angeles, shared some thoughts on James and more. Although he wouldn't talk specifically about the pending trade, Davis did discuss other topics of note.
I asked Anthony Davis for his all-time NBA starting five, regardless of team or generation. Let's just say there was a purple and gold theme with his selections. Do you agree with his picks? Read more from Davis' interview with the @latimes here: https://t.co/l2h4K1VcESpic.twitter.com/QeR8YPp3wu— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 1, 2019
“Money comes and goes; your legacy is forever,” Davis said, per the Los Angeles Times. “I think how you establish yourself in the NBA and what you do on and off the court is something that people will remember forever. Obviously, our money is public and people know what we make, but at the end of the day no one cares about how much money you make.
“Anthony Davis is not going to be a great basketball player because of the amount of money he makes, it’s going to be about what he achieved on the court and also off the court. That’s all part of my legacy, and I think that’s way more valuable than any monetary value.”
When it comes to living in a new city, Davis is a decided fan of what California has to offer.
“The weather is amazing. The city fits me,” Davis told the newspaper. “It’s more slow motion, and that’s kind of how I am. … I live out here in the summers. L.A. is one of my favorite cities. I love to live here. ”
As for the talk of James leaving his number for Davis to take up next season, the former Pelicans star explained why No. 23 is special to him.
“Being from Chicago, [Michael] Jordan had 23 and he was my favorite basketball player for a while,” Davis told the newspaper. “But honestly, I was No. 3 and No. 30 before I was No. 23. When I got to high school as a freshman, upperclassmen already had No. 3 and 30 and they get first say, so they pulled a jersey out of a bag and threw me the jersey and said, ‘This is the jersey you’re going to wear,’ and it just happened to be 23.
“Obviously, Jordan wore it and me being younger, watching LeBron, that number just stuck with me. It was definitely exciting to know I had that number to follow Jordan and LeBron, who wore that number as well.”
Davis, 26, initially asked to be traded in late January, midway through his seventh season with the Pelicans. The six-time All-Star has averaged 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 466 career games as the Pelicans have reached the playoffs just twice during his tenure, with one series victory.
He appeared in 56 games last sason, a career-low, and saw downturns in his overall shooting (51.7 percent) and 3-point shooting (33.1 percent). Following the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Davis never played more than 34 minutes in a game.
With a new opportunity ahead in Los Angeles, Davis is aiming to atone for what was one of his worst seasons in the NBA.
“Being limited to 20 to 25 minutes was definitely different. Not being able to play in the fourth quarter and close out games was a little hard for me," Davis told the newspaper. "I wanted to go out there and help the team win. I just want to play again. I was limited last season and now I’m looking forward to getting back on the floor and being productive next year.
“My season was cut short, or at least limited in terms of playing the game that I love. I’m excited to get back to it and get back into the swing of things. I started back working out, so that helps. I want to make this season better than the last.”
Los Angeles will also reportedly send Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones and a future second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal that will bring Davis to town. The move is being done to free up a maximum contract spot for the Lakers, who may have eyes on Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard (among others).
NBA free-agent news has dominated the sports world of late, but Davis said he's not paying attention to what happens.
“I don’t really get into it,” Davis said. “That’s for the media and the fans to capture. I just want to focus on basketball.”
Overall, no matter who he suits up next season with in Los Angeles, Davis already has his end result in mind.
“My goal is to win a championship,” Davis said. “I expect to win every time I step on the court, every game. I want to win a title. That’s what it’s about — winning titles. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.