Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll) at his introductory press conference that he "wanted to take control" of his career in response to a question about players having more freedom and power to choose their destinations.
"I just wanted to take control of my career," Davis said. "There was always people kind of telling me, 'Oh you need to do that, you need to do this.' And I'd just kind of go with it. I was young, and I was like, 'OK, I feel like this person has the best interests for me' or whatever.
"But then as I started getting older, started getting more experience, I was like, 'I don't want to do that. I want to do it this way.' And as long as I can sleep at night and live with the decisions that I made, then I'm happy, and I don't really care what no one else thinks. I have a great team around me who I can talk to about things that's going on, and they give me great advice and at the end of the day I'll live with the decisions I make."
Davis, who played from the New Orleans Pelicans from 2012 to 2019, requested a trade last January with one-and-a-half years left on his contract.
A deal didn't materialize before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, but the Pels sent the six-time All-Star to the Los Angeles Lakers after the season for a package of players and picks that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
Davis isn't the only player to take control of his future despite being under contract. Of note, Paul George successfully requested a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with free agent Kawhi Leonard on the Los Angeles Clippers.
Furthermore, Houston Rockets guard James Harden reportedly demanded that teammate Chris Paul be traded, according to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill.
"James made this [expletive] happen," a league source told Goodwill. "He wanted Chris up out of there."
Although ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that the "tension" between the two didn't play a role in Paul being dealt to the Thunder, trade demands have the attention of commissioner Adam Silver, who has made numerous comments about the topic this year.
"That's nothing new in this league," Silver told ESPN's Tim Bontemps and other reporters during the All-Star break. "...having said that, no one likes to see an instance when a player is demanding to be traded when they are under contract with a team."
In July, Silver told the New York Times' Marc Stein and other reporters that he felt trade demands were "disheartening" and that it must be "addressed" at some point.
The demands are a blessing and a curse for the league. On one end, they bring an incredible amount of attention and interest to the league in the middle of the summer. On the other end, smaller-market franchises can be hurt by players leaving for other teams.
Regardless, the practice of superstars successfully demanding trades likely isn't going away anytime soon.