Have you ever been through a breakup in your life? If so, think back to that moment for a second and remember all of those raw emotions that flowed through you.
Yes, splits and separations all suck no matter what department they may fall in. How we respond from that breakup is what defines us though, and that is really the most important takeaway — valuable lessons are learned after heavy tears are shed.
There eventually comes a time where moving on is the next step and it’s a critical component to one’s growth. You may move forward fast, you may struggle feeling stuck in mud. Either way, there’s always some type of tag line used that you simply don’t want to hear at the time.
All the cliches used here will be for your sorrows and assistance. In relationships some exits come expected, others come without warning, but the day ultimately feared has arrived — Anthony Davis is leaving New Orleans because of failure. Let us walk through some of the most often recycled phrases for separation, and break them down together. Grab some tissue and your favorite ice cream.
“But...you don’t understand.”
We make excuses, don’t we? People do us wrong and we make up reasons to justify THEM! And if we’re the cause of the breakup, we blame them — victim shame.
On top of that, when going through heartache, we often feel we’re the only person in the world experiencing it. Yet in reality both sides are to blame. Regardless of how extreme the result, a failed partnership leaves real estate for each side to account for.
Dell Demps and his front office had close to seven seasons with Anthony Davis to make him happy. He point blank failed the city’s superstar. Shortsighted decisions and the lack of homegrown talent, among other elements, have attributed to a total botch of extending Davis’ stay in New Orleans.
On the other side, Davis doesn’t leave without his own portion of fault. Some would argue a man who ranks third all time in player efficiency rating should have more than two playoff appearances on his resume.
Injuries (some to him) and questionable coaching and talent fits to the side, the greats have often made average look extraordinary. There could been several better teams built around Davis, but shouldn’t he have made more players around him better? And let’s not even begin with the “I’d rather play the four” conversation.
There have been questions about AD’s ability to lead as the guy for years. His often passive demeanor isn’t a nail in the leadership coffin no matter the assumption that all leaders lead loudly. But the feeling that Davis lacks the “alpha” personally to get the job done in his position cannot be ignored.
Again both sides must take responsibility, but this isn’t the first time a superstar and a franchise have failed each other, and it won’t be the last. Either way, we understand, you’ll get through this.
“You’re the right person, just the wrong time.”
This has DeMarcus Cousins written all over it, doesn’t it?
This cliche is often felt when emotionally you connect with someone, but the surroundings don’t mesh.
Davis loved the city of New Orleans — I think that’s very clear. Look back through all of his comments, he always said nice in-depth things about the city. But it takes more than love sometimes to keep a superstar because he’s there to play basketball and enjoy success.
A murky ownership situation that has openly treated the Pelicans like the New Orleans Saints’ little brother isn’t a good image. And in times of struggle, it’s an obvious place to look and have contempt. Picture the ownership as that one partner you dated who had annoying parents.
From branding to game day experience, the Pelicans are so far away from the product they could produce and do produce on Fall Sundays. The marketing lacks the touch that a city as unique as New Orleans rightfully deserves and provides elsewhere.
And while Davis’ departure could be the step to hopefully fix these long-existing problems, put yourself in his shoes and ask yourself how you would feel?
On the other side, once you marry the person of your dreams, you become much more thankful for the people you never thought you could recover from.
You made it through Chris Paul, you can make it through Anthony Davis.
“Maybe we just need some space.”
Oh, hell no!
“We just don’t fit like I thought we did.”
Oh really? No one was saying this last year during the Pelicans playoff run!
Anyway, sometimes this can be true. As time evolves, people change. So do wants, expectations and annoyances.
The Pelicans and Anthony Davis could have fit perfectly. But there are some things we all must acknowledge in the end. While the aforementioned shortsightedness of ownership is a big draw in the ultimate failure that was — some of it is understandable.
After AD’s first season, it was fair to wonder if he projected better as a glorified rim protector with pick and roll/pop promise then Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett. And there’s reason to believe management did too by placing multiple ball dominant ball-handlers around him immediately.
The Pelicans didn’t have the health, the right coach or pieces for this puzzle to thrive from the start. Davis grew emphatically in his second year physically and offensively, and the need for several excellent ball handlers and creators soon began to lessen while the desire to add shooting and athletic defenders grew exponentially. We know the story from there and all the missteps that soon followed.
That explains it, but doesn’t excuse it, right? Could the Pelicans have shown more patience? Could they have had more foresight?
Davis later became the “center” the NBA needed once Golden State took the NBA by storm — even if he didn’t want to play at that position. But at the time, this new era was difficult to predict and the Pels whiffed multiple times in trying to adjust. The names of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca should immediately come to mind.
Finally and seemingly finding the right mixture last season, things seemed to be on the upswing. But just as in relationships, a good stretch can be misleading and isn’t solely the goal, especially six years in.
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Oh man, everyone’s seen this. Somebody is telling you that they’re really the problem while breaking up with you. It’s honestly the most confusing sentence I’ve seen put together when using the English language.
Anthony Davis and his agent Rich Paul would like to leave NOLA as “the good guy.” And in reality they should. Davis gave a lot to the city. But the quotes about how much Davis likes the food and slang we can do without.
Then there’s the idea of AD basically wanting to do the Pelicans a favor by letting them know his plans now versus at a later date. And while that can feel genuine at it’s base, you can’t help but wonder what selfishness is at play within.
The “Anthony Davis will only sign long-term in LA” trick seems to be the answer.
Davis is for sure saving both sides future headaches and no longer needed plans for vacation. It allows the Pelicans to maximize a plan while giving Davis the chance to leave New Orleans sooner in his quest for a winning situation. Davis would prefer New Orleans to not beat themselves up upon his exit, but there’s probably a few better ways to go about that.
“The grass isn’t always greener.”
A person can think the worst about their situation and believe a different one is the journey their heart desires. Unfortunately, you don’t know that until you’re in it and experience regret.
I don’t think I have to spell this out to you. Other places are “prettier”, have a better history, and are saying all the right things etc. Postives, positives, positives everywhere you look and listen — yeah, let’s pack up our bags and go!
Davis could indeed land elsewhere and win a championship or two. But should anyone be so sure things will work out accordingly? How have things worked out for Chris Paul thus far? Depending on the haul and landing spot, what will a team have risked to compete with Golden State. Unless Golden Sta...eh, never mind.
Can Davis inspire wherever he lands though?
He is a player who’s never been in trouble. He’s low key and barely updates his social media. Some days you should be surprised he has a smart phone. On the court, though, he’s broken damn near every Pelicans record. He’s recruited, worked his ass off, and is in some historic company numbers-wise. Guys like him do not obviously grow on trees.
Whatever you decide to believe, don’t be spiteful. Wish him well — there’s no telling where New Orleans road leads next. Let the pain flow through if you’re hurting. Better days are ahead no matter what you may be feeling right now. Hey, breakups can be the blessing you never saw coming, or the disaster you feared depending on what you learn from it.
Now is the time for the Pelicans to grieve, work on themselves, and become a better organization moving forward. That way all of the deserving basketball fans have a good chance of getting the best version of New Orleans that anyone has ever seen.