Davis is eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million supermax extension this summer. He can become a free agent in the summer of 2020. Davis' agent, Rich Paul, did not place pressure on the Pelicans to move Davis prior to next week's trade deadline, sources said.
"Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship," Paul told ESPN. "Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that's the reason for informing them of this decision now. That's in the best interests of both Anthony's and the organization's future."
New Orleans issued a statement Monday acknowledging the trade request.
"Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization's top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and build our team for long-term success," the team said. "Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our timeline. One that make sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction."
The NBA's collective bargaining agreement prohibits players or their agents from publicly requesting a trade, which is part of why NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN on Monday night: "We commenced an investigation this morning reading the reports regarding Anthony Davis. That process is ongoing."
Davis is likely facing a fine for Paul's statement to ESPN on Monday morning.
Pelicans officials are already privately expressing that the organization doesn't feel pressure to move Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Davis' declaration on wanting out now gives teams other than the Boston Celtics a head start in pursuing trades for Davis. Restricted by the designated rookie extension contract, Boston cannot trade for Davis until July 1 because collective bargaining rules wouldn't allow both Kyrie Irving's and Davis' contracts to be on a roster together under that provision. Irving becomes a free agent on July 1.
Boston could agree to a Davis trade with New Orleans prior to July 1 and then finalize a trade after that date.
This is an opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to be aggressive in offering a package for Davis prior to Boston's inclusion into talks. Paul also represents Lakers star LeBron James, and the Lakers have been determined to acquire Davis in a deal, league sources said.
Several teams told ESPN they're already weighing the possibility of making offers for Davis, including contenders who'd be willing to use Davis to chase a championship this season and perhaps recoup assets lost in a trade to New Orleans by flipping Davis after the season -- or keeping him into the final year of his contract.
"It's definitely a topic of conversation," Durant said. "All NBA news is. I mean it's not that serious. So it's like, why not talk about it? So AD wanting to play basketball somewhere else, it's not like the president shutting down the government. It's just basketball, so of course we talk about it. We all as players, we want guys to do exactly what they want to do in this league. We have a short amount of time, so why not do what you want?"
Davis, 25, who is averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, is currently sidelined with a volar plate avulsion fracture of his left index finger.
ESPN's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.