The Anthony Davis trade has had all sorts of implications for the NBA, the full extent of which we won’t fully comprehend for years. But the ripple effects are already being felt across the league. The Lakers are off to their hottest start in years, with LeBron James fully reaffirming his overall dominance, and his partnership with Davis looking more formidable by the day.
Even before the season, the disastrous trade saga led to major leadership changes for both organizations, with former Pelicans GM Dell Demps summarily dismissed after the February deadline and Magic Johnson’s abrupt resignation this summer amid rumors of all sorts of interpersonal turmoil with GM Rob Pelinka.
And we haven’t even gotten to all of the young players on both sides whose futures hung in the balance. The Lakers sacrificed a slew of budding prospects to try and win now and avoid squandering another one of LeBron’s few remaining years at the top of his game, and so far, just about everyone involved is thriving in the early going.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some residual resentment, particularly among the Pelicans faithful, who felt betrayed by Davis’ trade demand and the ugly fallout that accompanied it. So it was no surprise that his return to New Orleans on Wednesday night was met with boos from the home crowd. It started when he came out for warm-ups prior to tip-off.
Lakers are out for warm ups. AD said he expected to hear boos, and his teammates are locked in to rally around it; that began this morning with a very focused shootaround. pic.twitter.com/DjoXLi5DmH
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 28, 2019
That response was to be expected, and is somewhat understandable, despite the fact that Davis remained loyal to the organization for seven seasons as he blossomed into a superstar even as the team struggled to find their niche in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. But it wasn’t all animosity. Davis has at least one loyal fan in Arcade Fire frontman and New Orleans transplant Win Butler.
I don’t think Win Butler will be booing tonight pic.twitter.com/kxzFYlQRm7
— Jake Madison (@NOLAJake) November 28, 2019
Still, the crowd let him hear it during his introduction in the Lakers lineup.
Anthony Davis introduction in New Orleans as a Laker. pic.twitter.com/OLMziG8xcw
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) November 28, 2019
Fair or not, that’s how these things work in the NBA, and Davis had already steeled himself for that outcome by turning to LeBron — who’s had some experience in this department — for advice. But eventually, at least some Pelicans fans will come around down the road as his legacy for everything he did for both the town and the organization will be too much to dismiss.