Anthony Davis returns to New Orleans for the first time on Wednesday night since his offseason trade, and he knows what to expect thanks to teammate LeBron James.
“I talked to him because I know what it’s like going into a situation where you would call home for seven years,” James told ESPN. “He’s a kid when he got there, and he became a man along that seven-year journey, so it’s just going to be a different situation for him personally.”
James knows from first-hand experience what it’s like to return to his former team. After spending the first seven years of his NBA career with the Cavaliers, he left his hometown to join Miami in 2010, angering many of Cleveland’s fans.
Davis said he’s already felt a little of the heat he expects to receive on Wednesday. After last year’s trade deadline ended, fans booed him during the next Pelicans home game. Davis requested a trade during the season but didn’t leave New Orleans until the Lakers acquired him last June.
“I got a little taste of it, but I know it’s going to be even worse,” Davis said last week in reference to the February game.
He later opened up about his expectations for his return on Wednesday night.
“I’m pretty sure every time I catch the ball, it’s probably going to be boos and stuff like that,” Davis said. “Obviously they’re fans of the Pelicans. And I understand why they feel that way, but it’s all love on my end.”
James added that despite the emotions leading up to the night, it’s “nothing but strictly basketball” once the game begins.
The Pelicans will take on the Lakers at 9:30 p.m. ET.