NEW ORLEANS — Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said the fallout from the Anthony Davis trade discussions — both for his team and the Los Angeles Lakers — was the most “toxic” situation he has seen in more than three decades in the NBA, and noted that Davis got “bad advice” in the process.
When asked after Tuesday’s regular-season finale, a 112-103 loss to the Golden State Warriors, if he had ever seen a situation like this during his time in the league, Gentry was quick with an answer.
“Not this toxic, no,” Gentry said. “Not that affected two teams. And two guys. One lost his job and the other one resigned from his job. So no, in 31 years I hadn’t had anything that would equal this kind of fallout. No, I haven’t.”
The two guys Gentry was referencing were former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, who was fired in mid-February after the trade deadline passed, and Lakers president Magic Johnson, who abruptly quit prior to the Lakers’ season finale on Tuesday night.
“I have no idea about what’s going on in that organization,” Gentry said of the Lakers’ situation. “I think we got enough to worry about on this side. So is it a surprise? Yes. Do we know why? I don’t think anyone knows except Magic, so it’s not anything that we spend a ton of time worrying about or thinking about. Obviously he felt like the time was right, he needed to do that, and that’s what he did. Other than that I have no idea what’s going on there.”
When the topic of Tuesday’s game potentially being Davis’ last as a member of the Pelicans, Gentry pushed back on the finality of that decision.
“Maybe,” Gentry said. “He’s a great player. Obviously he’s a great player. He’s been on six All-Star teams, first team All-NBA, a great player, a very skilled guy, and he has the numbers to back it up.”
Davis, who came to the Smoothie King Center wearing a “That’s All Folks” T-shirt in reference to Porky Pig’s famous line from the “Looney Tunes” cartoons, did not play Tuesday and hasn’t played since March 24 with what the Pelicans are calling lower-back spasms.
Gentry has repeatedly spoken highly of Davis, but believes the All-Star center has not been led down the best professional path by his associates. Davis switched agencies during the season — signing with Klutch Sports and Rich Paul, the same agent who represents Lakers star LeBron James.
“I think he’s a great kid,” Gentry said. “I think he’s a very good kid. I think he’s a solid guy. … I think he got some bad advice. You know me to just tell the truth.”
When asked how so, Gentry demurred.
“I’ll leave it at that,” Gentry said. “But there’s nothing wrong with AD. He’s a good solid guy with good character. That’s the way I feel.”
Gentry remains confident that his team will be able to move past all the hoopla surrounding Davis’ situation after the season.
“We’re going to move on regardless of what [happened],” Gentry said. “We’ve got great ownership. We’re going to have great leadership. We got a bunch of guys in there that believe in each other. So it doesn’t matter what [happens], we’re going to be good next year. We’re going to move forward and we’re going to have a good basketball team. I truly believe that.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the Pelicans interviewed interim general manager Danny Ferry for the full-time position. Gentry said that, no matter who is hired, he is not worried about his own situation.
“Don’t care,” he said. “I’ll think that when they tell me it is. I don’t worry about things that I can’t control. I told you guys that. I’m going to do everything that I possibly can, work as hard as I possibly can, until they tell me I’m not the coach anymore. It’s pretty simple.”
Gentry’s message to his team right after the game was simple.
“I told them right afterward, we’re going to be good next year and we’re going to make the damn playoffs,” Gentry said. “I said that and I mean that. I believe that.”