You’re not expected to feel sympathy for Anthony Davis here.
One way or another, the New Orleans Pelicans forward is about to be a wealthy — well, wealthier — man. Whether or not he makes one of the three postseason All-NBA teams voted on by the media, the contract extension Davis signed last offseason will pay him no less than $125 million.
“A hundred and 25 million’s still a lot of money,” Davis said Friday before his team’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. “It’s a lot of damn money.”
But it could be a lot more.
If Davis is elected to an All-NBA team, his contract will be subject to the so-called “Rose Rule” — named for Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose — that would allow Davis’ salary to take up 30 percent of the Pelicans’ salary cap as opposed to 25 percent.
Over the life of his five-year contract extension, that equates to about $23 million, which is nothing to scoff at.
“It’s a contract,” Davis said. “They give that out for (entire) contracts.”
To qualify for the Rose Rule, a player must, while under his rookie contract, win at least one MVP, be voted an All-Star starter at least twice or make the first-, second- or third-team All-NBA twice.
Davis made the All-NBA first team last season. Whether he repeats as an All-NBA selection is in the hands of media voters.
Davis made it clear he wants the honor and the multi-million-dollar prize that comes with it. He also concedes there’s not a lot he can do about it other than “just go out there and play.”
“That’s the great thing about him,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “None of this stuff — it’s just all clutter. He’s going to play, and what’ll happen at the end happens. He’s not going to spend one minute worrying about it.”
Entering Friday, Davis was seventh in the NBA in scoring (24.4 points per game), eighth in rebounding (10.4) and fourth in blocked shots (2.1). He and the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins are the only players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“I would say that everybody in the NBA thinks he’s one of the top 15 players in the NBA,” Gentry said. “I don’t think that would even be a question.”
But whether he cracks the 15-man All-NBA teams — and cashes in as a result — remains in doubt.
“I just go out there and play,” Davis said. “I’m going to let the rest take care of itself. Just try to do whatever I can to help the team win, and hopefully that can contribute to whoever votes … to decide to vote in my favor. If they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about it. If they do, I’ll definitely send everybody thank-you notes.”
Tim Frazier’s second game for the Pelicans came against some friendly faces.
The point guard, who signed a 10-day contact with New Orleans this week and made his debut in Wednesday’s game at Sacramento, played Friday against Portland, the team he spent most of the past year with.
“I had a great time in Portland, so it’s always going to be good to be able to see the coaches and your old teammates,” Frazier said. “Obviously I built a bond with Damian (Lillard) as well, so we’ve been talking every day since I’ve been gone.”
Lillard said Frazier has “become one of my closer friends, even away from the game of basketball.”
Frazier played five games for the Blazers last season and 35 this season before he was waived Feb. 18. He played in the NBA Development League — where he was the MVP last season — before signing with the Pelicans on Wednesday.
He and Lillard remain close, but they aren’t so friendly that Frazier could avoid some trash talk before Friday’s game.
“He told me I better guard (Blazers guard) C.J. (McCollum) tonight because if I don’t, my 10-day’s going to turn into a 3-day,” Frazier said. “But that’s just the competitive spirit with us.”
The NBA is in the stretch run, but that doesn’t mean players are ignoring the madness at the college level. For Pelicans players whose former schools are participating, the NCAA tournament provides a distraction.
That’s especially true when alma maters collide, and Davis said he and guard Eric Gordon likely will have a “friendly wager” on the line when Kentucky, where Davis played his college ball, faces Indiana, where Gordon played, on Saturday.
In his lone year at Kentucky, Davis lost to the Hoosiers in the regular season and beat them in the Sweet 16 en route to the NCAA title. He admits he doesn’t “really get along” with Indiana and expressed confidence in his Wildcats.
“I’ll probably give (Gordon) some points,” Davis said. “Probably give him 20 points.”