Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is not happy with the events that transpired to expedite the departure of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers, saying it was “bad for the league.”
Kerr said the trend of players who are not free agents forcing trades to get out of existing contracts, as evidenced by the Davis-to-Lakers deal, is a “real problem.”
“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation,” Kerr told The Warriors Insider Podcast. “Where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.
“When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans. And then it’s completely your right to leave as a free agent. But if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract.”
Davis, who had another season left on his deal with the Pelicans when he requested a trade to the Lakers in January, was dealt to Los Angeles in exchange for three players and three first-round draft picks in June.
“If you come to an agreement with the team that, ‘Hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways,’ that’s one thing,” Kerr said. “But the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking — and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly said he wishes trade demands “were handled behind closed doors” to avoid franchises being involved in very public tugs of war over the teams’ and players’ best interests.
“You have a contract and it needs to be meaningful on both sides,” Silver said at the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month. “On one hand, there’s an expectation if you have a contract and it’s guaranteed that the team is going to meet the terms of the contract, and the expectation on the other side is the player is going to meet the terms of the contract.
“I will say, without getting into any specific circumstances, trade demands are disheartening. They’re disheartening to the team. They’re disheartening to the community and don’t serve the player well. The players care about their reputations just as much. And so that’s an issue that needs to be addressed.”
On the podcast, Kerr agreed there’s a right way and a wrong way to the process.
“What LeBron [James] did, played out his contract. What Kevin [Durant] did both when he arrived at Golden State and when he left. You sign contracts, you play them out and you move on. That’s how it should be done,” Kerr said.
“But it’s a little disturbing that there has been some action that happens before contracts are up, where teams are sort of held hostage and the league is sort of held hostage. I’m not a big fan of that. That’s damaging for everybody.”