New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis has parted ways with his longtime agent Thad Foucher, according to ESPN.
Foucher currently represents Russell Westbrook along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Skal Labissiere. Interestingly enough, Foucher also represents SGA’s 17-year old baby brother, Thomasi.
Davis, who still has two years worth $52 million remaining on his current contract with a player option in 2020, is reportedly leaning towards signing with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who famously represents LeBron James, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and Ben Simmons, among several other NBA players.
What does this mean for Davis and his future with the Pelicans? Well, that’s the hundred-million dollar question.
Rich Paul has been a notorious contract bargainer. He’s the one who successfully inked big money deals for Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Los Angeles Lakers. Deals that tend to favor the player years after they’ve been completed.
Does this mean that if Davis does sign with Paul that he’s going to look for a big contract if he becomes a free agent in 2020? Yes, but Davis is going to be earning the supermax contract if he remains in New Orleans regardless of who his agent is.
Does this mean that if Davis does sign with Paul that he’s going to the leave the Big Easy for the spotlight of LA in 2020? Not necessarily, but it does make for an interesting possibility. Although the idea of an extension next summer is going to be alluring…
Davis is super max eligible next summer with the Pelicans. It will be pretty hard to turn down a $230M+ extension to remain in New Orleans. https://t.co/L5uDhEIAyv
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 8, 2018
The Pelicans can pay Davis the most money of any team, which is a hell of an advantage to have from a team perspective and a huge incentive for Davis to stay put. New Orleans has expressed little – if any – interest in trading away their five-time All-Star. Boston – not Los Angeles – is the team that would have enough assets to pull off a blockbuster trade worth the Pelicans time, anyways.
The Lakers understand they can’t wait until 2020 to bring in their second superstar. It needs to happen either before the end of this season or in free agency next summer. Wasting prime years of LeBron James in hopes of luring away Davis two years from now would be foolish. They could try to trade for Davis and pry him away from NOLA, but that’s going to be a tall order and would cost nearly every asset they have (probably three out of these four players; Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, along with multiple draft picks).
The Pelicans tweaked their roster following the departure of DeMarcus Cousins, bringing in Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton to spice up their successful playoff rotation. They have aspirations to be a top-four team in the West and will every opportunity to get there, but if things go sour quick, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Davis might have second guesses about his future in New Orleans.
Davis doesn’t have much leverage, as he’s under contract for two more seasons, but he’s still the superstar that the organization wants to keep happy. The front office will do whatever they can to keep Davis a happy camper and barring a mega offer from the Celtics (which shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility) they should be able to successfully do so.
Davis potentially teaming up with Rich Paul could mean that he’s in cahoots with LeBron James and linking up in LA might be a discussion in the works, if it isn’t something that hasn’t already happened. But, this could also just mean that Davis is trying to switch things up and go with a higher-profile agent who can help spread his name to a wider audience. After all, Davis is expected to be a top-three MVP candidate once again this season and is still only 25 years old. He has the skill. He has the unibrow. He can be easily marketed. A change in representation can lead to that and most importantly, more money.
To sum it up, while Davis leaving his agent doesn’t mean too much at this very moment, it could have ramifications in the future that might ultimately land him on a new team. It could also just be a marketing tactic. Either way, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on and whoever Davis does decide to let represent him in the long term will have the future face of the NBA at their disposal.