“Look, I’m here. If I was thinking about leaving, I’d never re-sign [last summer]. I’m here to stay,” Davis told ESPN Radio’s Meet The All-Stars show that will air Saturday night (5:30 p.m. ET).
“I’m here to help this team win [and] put this franchise back on the map,” Davis said Thursday.
The 23-year-old also said he would be “very involved” in trying to persuade free agent-to-be Jrue Holiday to re-sign with the Pelicans this summer.
“I’m doing that right now,” Davis said. “I talk to Jrue all the time. He’ll make his own decisions, but of course we like him here. ... We need him to continue to play well and then, at the end of the season, hopefully he decides to re-sign with us.”
Holiday, 26, will be eligible to sign the biggest contract of his career this summer, and it’s not clear how far the Pelicans will be willing to go to re-sign him. He will surely have other suitors, and the Pelicans are reportedly worried that he will walk. Losing him for nothing will be disastrous, so if Davis’ recruiting efforts don’t work, they will have to look into trading him before next week’s deadline.
Davis’ comments come three days after Bleacher Report published a feature about how New Orleans has failed to build a contender around him. The story, written by Brian Boyles, cites a source close to Davis saying that he and Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook could eventually team up with the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis shut that down in an interview with SiriusXM NBA, saying that he would like to spend his whole career with the Pelicans.
“Some rumor from somewhere said me and Russell was going to L.A.,” Davis said. “I haven’t talked to Russell or whoever the source is about that, so I’m not sure where that came from, but I’m here. I just signed an extension here. If I didn’t want to be here, I would have never signed the extension. For the next four years, I’m going to be a Pelican. I love it here. I love playing for the organization. I don’t intend on going anywhere. I want to be here. I never was one of those guys who -- I was always one of those guys who wanted to stay with their franchise and [win] championships, just like Tim Duncan did. I looked up to Tim. I still look up to Tim. But the way he did it through his entire career was definitely setting a great example for me. I want to be the same way.”
There will be people who read this and ask, rhetorically, “What is he supposed to say?” After all, Davis is representing New Orleans as the city hosts All-Star weekend, and he is nowhere near free agency. Even if he wanted out, saying so publicly would be a horrible idea. Davis, however, did not have to say all this so strongly. He seems genuinely bothered about all the speculation about his future, and he has never wavered from his desire to turn the Pelicans into contenders.
All of this could change, of course, if the front office doesn’t do its part in turning the organization around over the next few years. For now, though, Davis sounds opposed to the very notion that he might bail.