Despite resistance from former New Orleans general manager Dell Demps, the Anthony Davis trade saga ended up with AD landing with the Los Angeles Lakers, his desired destination from the jump. From the public trade request to the "That's All Folks!" shirt, was an overt display of player control. While some people may see this as a progressive step towards superstars controlling their own career, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr thinks this move could have a detrimental impact on the NBA.
During an appearance on the Warriors Insider Podcast, Kerr explained the importance of a player fulfilling his obligation to his franchise while still under contract.
"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," Kerr said. "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."
Although AD's sudden trade request may have rubbed some fans and NBA insiders the wrong way, outside of the public trade request, everything AD did was within his contractual right. Davis had the right to request the trade and was even given a $4 million trade kicker (that he waived) because it was included in his deal with New Orleans. But for Kerr, the problem with Davis' move was the fact that the Pelicans did not want to get rid of him. And when they came to terms with trading Davis it was rumored that they did not want to send him to the Lakers.
While the trade didn't happen before the deadline, AD and Klutch were able to throw their weight around and get the superstar big man to Los Angeles. The ability to force one's way out of a situation and not be subjected to playing out a contract is somewhat unprecedented. That shift in power is something Kerr hopes is an isolated incident.
"If you come to an agreement with the team that, 'hey, it's probably best for us to part ways,' that's one thing," Kerr said. "But the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking—and hopefully not a trend, because it's bad for the league."