Anthony Davis left the New Orleans Pelicans under circumstances about as contentious as you will see in basketball. He not only requested a trade publicly but insisted that he only wanted to play for one team, the Los Angeles Lakers, while actively discouraging other teams from acquiring him, killing New Orleans' leverage in the process. On the day of his final home game as a Pelican, he wore a shirt that read "that's all folks."
Naturally, Pelicans fans haven't taken too kindly to that. On Wednesday, Davis was back in town for the first time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he drew rabid boos from Pelicans fans from the start.
Anthony Davis received boos during his introduction in New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/xISspJJvdO— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 28, 2019
This was obviously not an unexpected occurrence. Davis couldn't have anticipated a warm welcome after the way that he left, but unlike many occasions in which a superstar ditches his original team for greener pastures, New Orleans is actually in very good shape after the Davis trade.
Brandon Ingram has emerged as an All-Star caliber player after being the centerpiece of the Davis trade. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart should be mainstays in New Orleans, and the Pelicans have amassed an enormous war chest of draft picks thanks to multiple offseason deals.
Looming over all of this is the eventual debut of Zion Williamson, the rookie expected to replace Davis as the face of the franchise in New Orleans. With Williamson and so much young talent in place, the Pelicans arguably emerged from the Davis deal in better shape than they were in with him. New Orleans won only one playoff series with Davis. Now, they have one of the best young rosters in basketball. The Lakers, meanwhile, entered Wednesday's game with an NBA-best 15-2 record. The entire situation proved to be a win-win.
That isn't going to prevent boo's, but it ensures that Pelicans fans will have plenty to cheer about moving forward.