On Sunday, the NBA kicked off its 2019 free agency, with teams closing at least 48 contracts within the first eight hours, including deals that send both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets. However, prior to the explosive deals, Pelicans big man, Anthony Davis, took his talents to Los Angeles to team up with LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma.
In fact, in a recent interview with Los Angeles Times, Davis opened up about the move, his relationship with James and how he’s been able to get acclimated to the new city.
“The weather is amazing. The city fits me,” Davis said. “It’s more slow motion, and that’s kind of how I am. I live out here in the summers. LA is one of my favorite cities. I love to live here.”
Although Davis won’t be an official Los Angeles Laker until Saturday, he said the love and support from the fans and James has been “cool.”
“I always looked up to him,” Davis said of James’ public support of the trade. “As a kid, [James] and Michael Jordan were the two guys I [admired]. I didn’t get a chance to watch Michael Jordan live, but I watched LeBron a lot after he entered the league and he was the guy that I looked up to.”
After Davis’ trade went through, the Lakers were faced with a salary cap issue. But, when Davis agreed to waive his $4million trade bonus, the Lakers were able to free up some salary cap room to sign another star to a max contract. When asked about the selfless act, Davis said, “Money comes and goes; your legacy is forever. I think how you establish yourself in the NBA and what you do on and off the court is something 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 more valuable than any monetary value.”
In exchange for the waiver, James also gifted Davis the No. 23 jersey, as he reverted back to the No. 6, which he wore in South Beach with the Heat. In the interview, Davis shared the importance of the number.
“Being from Chicago, Jordan had 23, and he was my favorite basketball player for a while,” Davis said. “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.”
Despite the drama surrounding the initial trade deal and the actual deal that sent most of the young Lakers players to New Orleans, Davis said he still only has one goal.
“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.”