During an interview with Sam Schube of GQ, Klutch Sports Group CEO Rich Paul went off about the criticism surrounding one of his clients, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis.
Davis has been bashed by the media and fans the last two seasons due to always being hurt. The All-Star big man only played in 36 games in 2020-21 and 40 in 2021-22. Paul, who also represents Lakers superstar LeBron James, told Schube that the media is always going to kick a player when he’s down, especially a transcendent talent like Davis.
“Well, I think the first thing is, you’ve got to understand media,” Paul said. “And I think the media has the job. Some of it’s scripted, some of it’s based on analytics, some of it’s based on viewership. When you talk about these topics, you see a rise in the viewership. And so the media, as it pertains to any player, but [especially] AD, is going to kick you when you down. Over the last couple years, he’s had some really freak situations. Guy gets pushed into his knee. And then I think the one before that, or the year before that, was a hamstring or a groin, whatever it was. Those are the things that happen when you play the sport. People act like, ‘Oh, he’s just hoping to go out and get injured.’ Or, ‘The guy don’t want to play.’ It’s stupidity at times, but that’s what comes with it. But for me, it’s always been the same as with any guy, especially at that level. There’s no doubt in the talent, and in the ability to play the game at the high level—I think he’s shown that.”
Davis missed 17 games from late December until late January last season after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Chicago native suffered his knee injury after James accidentally knocked Timberwolves swingman Jaden McDaniels into the side of his leg.
Then in mid-February, Davis sustained a right mid-foot sprain versus the Utah Jazz, causing him to miss 18 additional games. The future Hall of Famer injured his foot after stepping on the foot of Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Neither injury was Davis’ fault, but the Kentucky product still got bashed by pundits.
Paul: My Message Is the Same: Keep Pushing
Paul told Schube that he always has the same message for Davis, who is averaging 27.7 points and 12.4 rebounds this season. The superagent relays to Davis to “keep pushing.”
“My message is the same: keep pushing,” Paul said. “And my message has been the same with him: He’s a guy you got to play through. I don’t care who’s on your team, you got to play through him because he’s the one guy that, in most cases, is going to have a mismatch on the floor every night.”
Davis has been one of the best players in the NBA this season. The one-time champion is eighth in the league in points per game, first in rebounds per game, first in player efficiency rating and third in blocks per game. Behind Davis’ strong play, the Lakers are 11-15 after starting the season 2-10.
All Those Davis Trade Rumors Are Gone
When the Lakers were 2-10, Davis was in several trade proposals. However, now that Los Angeles is playing better and Davis is dominating, those AD trade rumors are nowhere to be found.
The Lakers were never going to trade Davis anyway. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported in November that the purple and gold never considered trading Davis, who signed a five-year, $190 million contract with the Lakers in December 2020. The deal includes an early termination option in 2024 and will be fully up in 2025.
“And while it’s been a talking point on social media, the Lakers are not considering trading Davis, according to sources,” Haynes reported. “For any dialogue of that nature to occur, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul would have received calls from interested teams inquiring if his client would agree to an extension if they traded for him. Those conversations have not taken place, sources say.”