With the trade rumors surrounding Anthony Davis and the speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers might be looking to trade for him and be in the market for a new head coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari swatted away any notion that he’d be up for such a move Thursday.
On air by phone with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg on the “Get Up” morning show, Calipari weighed in on his former player’s possible motives for wanting out of New Orleans and the inevitable link that they both might go to the Lakers. Calipari said he and Davis have not spoken since the trade request was made this week.
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“I try to leave him alone in situations like this,” Calipari said. “He wants to win. I don’t know all the particulars. All I know is he loves New Orleans. He loves the city, loves the scene and all of that. But all of these guys get to the point where winning becomes more important than anything else. Guys want to move to a team where they have more of a chance to win.”
Calipari noted that team success does two things. In college it raises the profile of all the players and helps them achieve their NBA dreams. In the pros, it establishes a legacy that money doesn’t buy.
“I’m trying to tell this team I’m coaching, if we win you all eat. You all build your own self. You can do less, sacrifice more, but you win. In the NBA, every player knows at the end of their career, they’re going to be evaluated ‘did you win a ‘ship.’ Anthony is no different from any of the other guys in that league.”
As for coaching again in the NBA, Calipari offered a familiar answer.
“I’m at Kentucky having a ball preparing young people for the rest of their life,” Calipari said. “It’s a different job than coaching in the NBA. I think Luke (Walton) is doing outstanding work. I’ve watched him coach. I’ve watched his demeanor. I’ve watched him and the adjustments. He’s coaching a young team in that league and that league is unforgiving, now. You’re not playing Popcorn State next week. You’re playing a professional team. Even the teams that are struggling have really good players. ”