We all want to be wanted.
There’s a certain level of romance behind someone saying, “I want you and no one else”. You see, no matter how attractive your talent is or how beautiful your features are, someone out there is aiming to be, or is already in better standing than you are.
The Pelicans currently play the role of that hopeless romantic, who have squandered past partnerships, and are just looking for everything to go right for once.
New Orleans is currently on their way to their third divorce among several other failed relationships and who could blame them if they wake up one day and think “this isn’t for me” which is “move to Seattle” dressed in relationship verbiage. But like any hopeless romantic, they believe in love; they just need one more opportunity for another person to believe in them.
Say hello to your potential new beau, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, whose name has been thrown into many Anthony Davis trade package rumors since the day he put on a Boston uniform. So much, that Tatum notably mentioned earlier in the season, “I’d trade me too for Anthony Davis.” Now once again enflamed in a possible summer swap, Tatum is faced with reality once again.
In the midst of all of this, the Pelicans may have entertained other partnerships, and even led on a certain team throwing themselves at NOLA, as they seemingly waited for a time to “explore all options.” To some that’s language for: “We’re waiting until the person we want the most is single and available.”
The Pelicans Thinking Jayson Tatum is Substantially Better Than Any Of The Lakers Young Players Could Be The Reason Why Anthony Davis Doesn’t Get Traded by Deadline https://t.co/36WyR8CwZt pic.twitter.com/SSbKA2tnzW— Robert Littal (@BSO) February 7, 2019
None of this matters, however, if Tatum doesn’t want to play in New Orleans. Remember the loud acts of LaVar Ball speaking on behalf of his son Lonzo and the aforementioned Davis?
Nothing’s worse than wanting somebody that simply doesn’t want you. New Orleans has seen too much heartbreak to want to put themselves “out there again” just to end up in failure once again.
But unlike others, Tatum may be walking to the beat of his own drum and willing to give New Orleans a chance if the situation presents itself. Could the Pelicans’ crush be blushing right back their way? If the rumors are correct that could be the case.
Unlike Lakers' Lonzo Ball, Celtics' Jayson Tatum may not be opposed to a trade sending him to the Pelicans. He would enjoy being the face of the franchise.— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) February 11, 2019
Interesting scuttlebutt from The Hoop Collective podcast with @WindhorstESPN: https://t.co/c1v4LOmutM #DoItBig #CUSRise
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon in a conversation with colleague Brian Windhorst mentioned that the gossip is that Tatum “wouldn’t mind” a trade to New Orleans and the opportunity of being “face of a franchise.”
Now before we get antsy, a lot has to happen for any of this to happen. The Pelicans would have to turn down the opportunity at possibly dealing with the New York Knicks if they were to land the number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Then there’s other hopefuls hoping for a date with New Orleans from Toronto, Milwaukee, the Clippers, and possibly Brooklyn — and that’s just the teams we’ve heard mentioned so far.
What if the Lakers put the same offer on the table or add more?
And are we even sure Celtics GM Danny Ainge will even move Tatum? What happens with Kyrie Irving?
Commitment isn’t as easy of a task we paint it up to be. It simply isn’t for everyone. Some need constant change, others get frustrated with processes, and the rest get used and taken advantage of. But it all starts with commitment.
Professional sports are an odd place for commitment these days as on the one hand owners and general managers want a sense of loyalty from their players that they won’t provide themselves. In response, many players decide to use their leverage once it arrives and practice the same tactics their bosses can use on them when they see applicable.
If front offices can decide to move away from players in the middle of contracts in hope of fielding a better performing team, players want to have the ability to exercise the same right. Lost in this gigantic egocentric two-sided power-trip is not only one’s meaning of loyalty but how exactly to be loyal. What defines a person’s loyalty? Is it the obstacles they’ve stayed through? Is it overall time spent?
The answer is often received by how a person decides to ultimately exit when the fateful day arrives. Is it via a retirement tour city to city, premature trade, or an ugly chaotic departure?
The New Orleans Pelicans have seen two stars of their era all leave in ugly and disappointing fashion since their relocation in 2002. Baron Davis and Chris Paul, and seemingly soon to be third in Anthony Davis. And that’s without mentioning the departures of David West, Tyson Chandler,
Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins, and Rajon Rondo.
While all three franchise players left for different reasons, however, injuries around the team, difficult roster builds, and star player frustration all played a part — and none left without controversy.
Baron Davis spent five and a half years with the then Hornets organization, and once he arrived in New Orleans, “B-Diddy” seemed to be a perfect fit with the city. But things soon turned sour as Davis’ injury history and the overall disappointment of the team prepped a very ugly exit. A 2005 New York Times article quoted Davis as saying:
“I’m just glad I’m out of there, I’m glad I’m with a classy organization and cares about the players and cares about winning.”
To this day Davis has very little positive to say about basketball in New Orleans as he mentioned recently on TNT’s “Players Only” pregame show he’d rather have $120 million and live in LA than $240 million in New Orleans.
After he arrived, a fresh face Chris Paul brought a level of competiveness and intensity that rivaled and soon surpassed that of Baron’s. Paul played six years in the Big Easy, was arguably the best player at his position in the league and led NOLA on one of the most magical runs of the decade, bringing the city within a game of it’s first Western Conference finals appearance.
Paul also said fantastic things about the city of New Orleans throughout his stay and his work in the community is still appreciated if you ask around enough.
But like the franchise player before him, Paul’s patience with the team and organization wore thin and he too felt it was time for a change. While his exit didn’t bring fierce comments, the trade that wasn’t surely did.
Landing with the Los Angeles Lakers was a dream for Paul, but that scenario became a nightmare during the lockout shortened off-season of 2011. David Stern famously nixed the agreed upon deal as the Hornets were without a true owner so the former commissioner acted as the defacto owner. Stern battled influence from other owners and some used this event to further bash the disarray which was basketball in New Orleans.
And now we’re here with a different Davis, a Rich Paul client, and the Los Angeles Lakers once again.
Anthony Davis provided the strongest possibility for a long-term stay in New Orleans. AD appeared different at first, stubborn to the idea of teaming up with others in a city that thrives as the underdog. Then things changed, the comments became less transparent and the ones of his agent were the complete opposite.
We have heard Davis mention it’s “his time” and that he felt he gave “the city and the organization all he could.” Marred by instability, bad fortune, and underachievement, Davis sits next on the list for those looking for a ticket out of New Orleans.
One could easily ask, “If Anthony Davis can be convinced to leave, can’t anybody?”
There are so many dominos that would have to fall overall, but make no mistake about it, Tatum is the player the Pelicans dream deeply about. He crosses every box from size to athleticism to IQ to creativity to overall thirst for knowledge — and to keep getting better as a player.
Should I also mention that he’s a productive wing standing taller than 6’4?
Tatum’s presence would quickly demolish any talk of a long-lasting rebuild as Jrue Holiday’s future would appear much clearer and NOLA would possibly be setting themselves up to push for playoff contention almost immediately.
His picture is all over the Pelicans’ wall, his name on many wish lists, and now we get news Tatum has looked our way. After everything that has unfolded and the awkward state of the current basketball team, it’s beyond nice to hear even the thought of your crush talking positively about you.
Is the idea of the Pelicans enough for Tatum to picture staying happily for the long-term in Nola?
Tatum would be coming from Duke University and then the Boston Celtics. There are few collegiate and professional teams that can compete with their lavish histories. Can Tatum overlook the Pelicans’ flaws, current state of confusion, and lackluster list of previous accomplishments? Is leading a franchise that has never won big a task Jayson can handle?
If he is, Tatum will find himself a folk hero in New Orleans. A guy who possibly changes the culture in the Crescent City forever, especially if his talent develops to the level many think it can while tuning out the previous failures and testimonies of the past marriages in NOLA.
Jayson Tatum could either be the knight in shining armor for New Orleans or a part of an army, and we all know how much NOLA loves those. He could also be the final nail in the coffin that is New Orleans basketball if he too were to want out.
For right now though, as the players often say — it just feels good to be wanted.