The NBA fined New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis $50,000 on Tuesday for violating a rule prohibiting players or their representatives from making public trade demands.
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN on Monday that his client “wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” adding that Davis “wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions” to give the team time to plan for his departure. The team later acknowledged Davis had requested a trade over the weekend.
In a statement announcing the fine Tuesday, the NBA called Paul’s comments to ESPN “an intentional effort to undermine the contractual relationship between Davis and the Pelicans.”
The team’s statement on Monday included a request to the league “to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.”
Multiple outlets reported later Monday that the NBA was investigating the situation, with the possibility of a fine for the public request.
Davis, 26, is making a salary of $25.4 million this season. He was fined $25,000 in December of 2017 for verbally abusing a game official, but has not otherwise been fined since entering the NBA.
Fines for tampering violations can vary. Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson was fined $50,000 last February for public comments praising the play of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. That came less than a year after the Lakers were fined $500,000 — the largest ever for tampering — after the NBA found general manager Rob Pelinka had been communicating with forward Paul George’s agent while George was with the Indiana Pacers.
ESPN reported earlier Tuesday that the Lakers — whose star, LeBron James, is also represented by Paul — are expected to make a heavy push to acquire Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, but the Pelicans are in no rush to deal Davis as they wait for an enticing package in return.
Davis cannot become a free agent until the summer of 2020.
—Field Level Media