SAN ANTONIO — Pelicans' Anthony Davis is now another NBA star looking to force his way out of New Orleans and reportedly for the bright lights of Los Angeles and the Lakers.
Davis has now put the small-market New Orleans franchise in a bind. With no deal completed before this season's NBA Trade Deadline, Davis' eventual departure will hinder the Pelicans from building a team that can complete with larger markets.
However, Davis is just another player in a growing list of stars forcing themselves out of teams.
The San Antonio Spurs are no stranger to this with forward Kawhi Leonard. He sat out most of the 2017-18 season due to a reported quadriceps injury only playing nine games. Ultimately, Leonard passed on a super-max deal with the Spurs, and reportedly wanted to leave San Antonio to the bigger market of Los Angeles.
Leonard was eventually traded to the Raptors leaving the Spurs without one of the premier players in the NBA.
And Spurs legend David Robinson has a problem with this recent trend.
In an article from Bleacher Report, Robinson made it clear he is disappointed with star players who up and leave teams. He also points to former Spur Kawhi Leonard and the ripples of his trade demand on the Spurs and the city of San Antonio.
"I always appreciated when a guy was going to kind of hang in there and fight the good fight and build a team," said Robinson, who spent all 14 years of his career with the Spurs. "And the one thing that for me is a little disappointing is that guys don't want to take on the challenge of building a team. ... We've had this run for 25 years, which has been remarkable and amazing. And then you see this thing come in with Kawhi, who wants to go to a bigger market. So it's unfortunate for a city like [San Antonio]—that wants to be competitive and has built something and really gone through all of this effort for 25 years—to lose it to this trend of players wanting to go to a bigger market."
This isn't the first time Robinson has been vocal about Leonard and the saga in his final season as a Spur.
He was a guest on ESPN's "The Jump" where he said Leonard ignored him when he tried to reach out to him as well as addressing Leonard's reported injury last season.
"He really, he's a hard guy. He's just quiet. He doesn't ... I've reached out to him several times and just never hear anything back from him.
"San Antonio, we obviously have a reputation for taking care of our players, almost too much, I mean, people criticize us for sitting guys down," he said. "Now all of the sudden, you know, we've got a guy who says he felt pressure to play. Which is, you know, tough. I mean, what can you do? We typically don't risk our players' health. But if a guy's not happy, he's got to go somewhere where he can play, and I think [coach] Pop [Gregg Popovich] and [general manager] R.C. [Buford] and our team did a pretty good job of kind of meeting our needs for the future. I think we'll move on from here. I think we're pretty happy with the deal and we'll continue to grow and get better."
Robinson spent his entire NBA career with the Spurs. During his playing days, it was not common for stars to force their way out of teams while under contract. The same went for Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Davis remains under contract through next season with the Pelicans. The team does not have to capitulate to his desire to go to Los Angeles much like the Spurs didn't give in to Leonard's desire to land in Los Angeles.