I know, it’s a little soon. We’re not exactly the biggest fans of AD right now. But, in the future—like really distant future—will New Orleans Pelicans fans embrace the once franchise cornerstone?
It’s how Anthony Davis and his representation went about his trade demand from the New Orleans Pelicans. There was a better way of doing this. Davis, Rich Paul, and Klutch Sports as a whole aren’t exactly admired in the Crescent City at the moment. However, time does heal all wounds, ask Raptors faithful and Vince Carter.
Whatever team Anthony Davis ends up being traded to, he’s going be booed once he makes his eventual return to the Smoothie King Center (if it’s the Lakers, oh man..). He won’t be the first athlete to return to the team that drafted him without a standing ovation, and he won’t be the last. It probably won’t be as bad as LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, but that had other factors playing in.
James was the prodigal son, he was born in Akron, Ohio, and he was going to be the man to finally end Cleveland’s championship drought. He would in his second stint with the team, but back in 2010, this was the ultimate betrayal as thought by Cavs fans. Him leaving to Miami—especially after nationally televising his eventual “Decision”—was unforgivable. And when he made his return home, fans informed him from the tip-off that he was no longer welcome.
It won’t be that bad for Davis, but it also will not be Paul Pierce returning home to Boston. Davis will leave New Orleans arguably the greatest player in franchise history. He’s accumulated 11,059 points, 4906 rebounds, and 1121 blocks in his career in the Big Easy, all franchise records. He played seven seasons for the organization, making the postseason twice.
He’s only played 13 playoff games but compiled averages of 30.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 1.8 steals on 52.6 percent shooting in 40.8 minutes of action. Dell Demps and company failed to incorporate talent around him, you can’t ignore several seasons of hardships. Davis was often injured, he missed 108 games in his time in New Orleans, but he did his part when healthy.
Again, there was a way for him to leave that wouldn’t have resulted in an entire fan base spiting his name. Would Pelicans fans be open to the idea of him leaving? Probably not, but Rich Paul’s powerplay to get him to Los Angeles has left a sour taste in our mouths.
Let’s take a quick look at “Vincanity” and how he left. Vince Carter was everything for the Toronto Raptors, and when he had an ugly divorce from the organization back in 2004-05, fans of the city drastically turned on him. Also didn’t help he went to a division rival, the New Jersey Nets. He left the Raptors with almost every feasible record and helped globalize the game.
Davis’ impact in New Orleans may not be comparable to Carter’s in Toronto, but it does have similarities. Carter went to a heated rival, viewed management as incompetent and demanded his way out of town from the organization that drafted him. It took until the 2014-15 season, as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, for Carter to receive a hero’s welcome for all he did in Toronto.
Toronto had found success in the post-Carter era, and it also helped that Vince didn’t win elsewhere—could the same occur for AD in the 2029/30 season at the age of 36? Only time will tell if New Orleans forgives and forgets. You can’t say Anthony Davis wasn’t great for the franchise and fun to watch; maybe if he talks about what could have been in New Orleans and shouts out how much he enjoyed the fans he might get his ovation. Who knows.