"I want to have a legacy. All my people that look up to me, the younger kids, I want them to know about AD's legacy. Championships, the things I do in the community, being a good teammate, playing hard. All that stuff matters the most to me. Don't get me wrong, money is amazing. But I think in that sense, money or legacy, I think my legacy will win that battle every time."
Davis' comments are bad news for the Pelicans, who can offer him more money than any other team. The five-time All-Star can collect a supermax extension in New Orleans worth an estimated $240 million. His contract would max out at $152 million elsewhere.
Should he want to best position himself to win an NBA title, Davis' future likely lies outside of New Orleans. He's in his seventh year with the Pelicans, who have gone no further than the second round of the playoffs during that time.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant made similar decisions when they had the opportunity to hit free agency.
James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010 and then Durant joined up with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. James won two championships with the Heat, while Durant is on his way to a third title in Golden State. In both cases, they strengthened their basketball legacies by spurning the teams that selected them in the NBA draft.
Davis is eligible to hit free agency after the 2019-20 season, which was already a big story before James weighed in on the possibility of teaming up with him.
"That would be amazing," James said earlier this week, per ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin. "That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible."
According to Haynes, Davis and James also had dinner following Friday's game.
As much as the speculation about Davis going to Los Angeles is intensifying, it might be a while before he's suiting up in another uniform. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was adamant when speaking to reporters that the team isn't going to trade its best player.