LeBron James issued a feisty defense of his now-notorious comments regarding Anthony Davis on Friday night, insisting his remarks about the New Orleans Pelicans star were neither against the rules nor part of a plot to bring the All-Star to Los Angeles.
When quizzed by USA TODAY Sports following the Lakers 112-104 over the Pelicans about the ESPN quotes where James said that playing with Davis would be "amazing," the Lakers star responded strongly.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said earlier Friday that "of course" James’ words constituted "tampering," and, according to ESPN, several general managers around the NBA shared the same view.
However, James’ locker room exchange with USA TODAY Sports went as follows.
USA TODAY: In hindsight do you feel that you did anything wrong by commenting on Davis at the start of the week and were you surprised by how much reaction those comments generated?
USAT: Some people think you did.
USAT: I am asking you, do you think you did?
James: No, of course not. What did I do?
USAT: You made comments about another team’s player.
James: (Inaudible) right or wrong?
USAT: I’m asking you your opinion. Were you surprised by how much reaction it generated?
James: Of course not. Everything I say will generate something.
L.A. Times: Did you know that when you said it?
LAT: You just sort of said it and then realized?
James: Ask me would I like to play with Kevin Durant? Ask me right now.
LAT: Would you like to play with Kevin Durant?
James: Absolutely. Ask me if I would like to play with Jimmy Butler.
LAT: Would you like to play with Jimmy Butler?
James: Ask me about Kyrie Irving. Giannis (Antetokounmpo). Ask me about (Joel) Embiid. Ben Simmons. Go ahead. All of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on guys, it is not rocket science. It is not rocket science., These are great players. Absolutely. I would want to play with a lot of great players, that is just who I am. So? People get caught up in bunches. Sometimes they wish they could control what you say and they can’t control me. At all. And I play by the rules."