The NBA has opened an investigation into New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis’ trade request, NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass told USA TODAY Sports.
“We commenced an investigation this (Monday) morning upon reading the reports regarding Anthony Davis. That process is ongoing,” Bass said.
ESPN reported Monday that Davis will not sign a lucrative five-year, $239.5 million extension with New Orleans and wants a trade.
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, told ESPN: “Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship. Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
Public trade requests are a no-no, even if made by the player’s agent or representative. In 2009, the NBA fined then-New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson $25,000 after his agent, Aaron Goodwin, told reporters that he asked the Knicks to trade his client.
The NBA fined Robinson for “conduct detrimental to the league,” and NBA spokesman Tim Frank said players are responsible for public statements relating to them made by their representatives.
Going to a team privately and requesting a trade or telling a team that a player will not re-sign are not punishable offenses.
The Davis situation has been high-profile almost all season. Late last month following comments made by James saying it would be incredible and amazing to play alongside Davis, the NBA sent a memo teams reiterating the league’s anti-tampering policy, which is expressed in the NBA Constitution.
The league also does not want individual players making sustained public recruiting pitches to players under contract with another team.
“In addition, recent attention has been paid to the issue of public comments by players,” the memo noted. “Generally speaking, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team’s player. However, if there are other aggravating factors — such as sustained public recruiting or evidence that the player making such a comment is coordinating with his team — then there may be a basis for a tampering violation.”
In a statement released by New Orleans later Monday, the teams said it has “requested the League to strictly enforce tampering rules associated with this transaction.”
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.