LeBron James became the center of controversy when he talked about the possibility of teaming up with New Orleans Pelicans superstars Anthony Davis in the Los Angeles Lakers. James’ comments didn’t sit well with general manager from small-market teams, who reached out to Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps to express their dismay.
The general managers who reportedly spoke with ESPN want the NBA to enforce the league’s tampering rules on LeBron James. An NBA spokesperson immediately addressed the issue and said that what James did is not tampering.
“Each case is assessed on its own facts. In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team’s player.”
It’s easy to understand why those unnamed general managers expressed deep concern over LeBron James’ comments about playing alongside Anthony Davis. In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl about Davis’ departure in New Orleans with the Lakers as one of his top trade destinations. They currently have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Pelicans, and since the 2018 NBA offseason, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka revealed their plan to find a second superstar either via trade or free agency.
LeBron James Says NFL Owners Have 'Slave Mentality' https://t.co/pNcT9Deocg
— TMZ (@TMZ) December 22, 2018
LeBron James’ controversial comments reached Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. Like the small-market general managers, Gentry also believes that James violated the league’s tampering rules.
“It’s B.S.; it’s tampering,” Gentry said, via Orange Country Register.
“It’s tampering. Should we start having A.D. say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?’ I’m just saying, why is it not tampering if players are saying it?”
However, Coach Alvin Gentry said it wasn’t LeBron James’ fault for answering such questions from reporters. Gentry also added that James’ comments don’t matter since they have no intention of trading Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, the Pelicans plan to offer Davis a massive contract extension to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020.
Despite receiving negative reactions from several league executives, LeBron James believes there’s nothing wrong with his comments about Anthony Davis. Instead of apologizing, James continues to taunt the small-market general managers by saying that he will also love to play alongside other NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Luka Doncic.