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After LeBron James lauds Anthony Davis, Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry says ‘It’s tampering’

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Alvin Gentry
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Alvin Gentry came to Los Angeles fully prepared for what awaited him after shoot-around.

The Lakers would love to acquire superstar center Anthony Davis, either via trade or in two summers when he becomes a free agent. LeBron James stated the obvious to ESPN earlier this week, saying it would be “amazing” if the Lakers traded for Davis, even including the expression “duh” in his response. James’ agent, business associate and close friend Rich Paul also represents Davis.

And so Gentry opened his news conference with his figurative guns blazing.

“No, we’re not trading him,” Gentry said. “We’re not trading him under any circumstance. You can move on from that one.”

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Did he think what James said was tampering?

“Yes, it is,” Gentry said. “Why would it not be?”

Though the official rules on tampering don’t indicate a distinction depending on who utters the offending words, the league has repeatedly said context affects its view on whether something qualifies as tampering.

“Each case is assessed on its own facts,” league spokesman Tim Frank said in an email. “In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team’s player.”

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Gentry’s response to that logic?

“Of course they did,” Gentry said. “What else are they going to say? If an executive said it, would it be tampering? … It’s tampering, OK? It’s tampering. So should we start having AD say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?’”

Added Gentry: “I thought if you talk about a player under contract, that’s tampering. That’s just me. I’ve only been in the league 31 years.”

Davis missed the Pelicans shoot-around Friday due to illness.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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