For all the stress and frustration that came with the news of Anthony Davis' desire to leave New Orleans, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry handled three days' worth of questions like a calm professional.
On Wednesday night, however, Gentry sounded off, saying that perceptions of the Pelicans as second-class citizens are "the furthest thing from the truth."
It was a sharp and somewhat surprising turn from the previous two days, when Gentry took a more measured approach in light of news that Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, had informed the Pelicans front office he wants to be traded and won't sign a "super-max" contract extension this offseason — which would have landed him $240 million over five years.
While his star forward remained publicly silent, sidelined by a sprained left index finger, Gentry again fielded questions about Davis’ role with the team Tuesday and Wednesday.
But an innocuous question after Wednesday’s 105-99 loss to the Nuggets struck a nerve with Gentry.
The Pelicans coach was asked about team owner Gayle Benson’s pregame visit to the locker room, where she congratulated the team on its 121-116 road victory over the Rockets the night before.
The question brought to mind reports of what he feels are inaccurate and unfair interpretations of the team’s standing with Benson, the team’s front office and the city.
Most recently, The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that a source close to Davis said “the idea that the Pelicans were less of a priority to ownership than the Saints has been a growing concern.”
“That’s the furthest thing from the truth, and if you don’t believe me, I’ll take all you guys to the practice facility, and you go visit any other one in the NBA, and you tell me that it’s not as good as any other place in the NBA,” Gentry said Wednesday. “To say that (the Pelicans are second-class citizens) is really disrespectful.”
Gentry went on to detail Benson’s dedication during last year’s playoff run, including her back-and-forth trips to Portland and Golden State.
Gentry added he and Saints coach Sean Payton have a great working relationship and that he appreciated Payton’s presence at one of the Pelicans’ postseason games against the Warriors in Oakland, Calfornia.
“All this stuff to me, to be honest, it really pisses me off. ... 'cause you should ask us if we feel like second-class citizens, and I can tell you right now that’s the furthest thing from the truth. There’s nothing that we ask for or want that Mrs. (Benson) won’t give us to try and help us win games.
“Whoever wrote that, you’re actually full of sh--.”