Anthony Davis was healthy enough to return from an injured finger Monday night and wanted to play, but the Pelicans refused to let him. New Orleans is embroiled in trade talk with the Lakers about Davis, and the Pelicans didn’t want to risk the oft-injured Davis getting hurt and diminishing his trade value.
It’s understandable. I was totally on board with not playing Davis up to the trade deadline.
But let’s say Davis isn’t traded before Thursday’s deadline. Then what? After Wednesday’s game, the Pelicans still have 27 games left. Will they just sit Anthony Davis for all of them? It seems possible, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo:
“If Davis is not traded by the deadline, it is anticipated he would be allowed to join his teammates on the court, but there’s a strong possibility he could be “shut down to an extent” for the remainder of the season at some point after the All-Star break, sources said.
They’ll cost Davis a shot at being an All-NBA player for the 4th time in his career, which could take money out of his pocket. They will basically be sending a message to Adam Silver – hey, we’re tanking. And you can’t do anything about it.
Pelicans ownership wants it all: maximize value for Anthony Davis, and be bad enough to get as high a draft pick as possible. I get that. But this presents a dangerous precedent for the NBA when a healthy superstar is being sidelined by his team, and it doesn’t involve insubordination. The Smoothie King Center is going to be a ghost town.
Who loses? Everyone else. If Adam Silver is willing to step in when star players rest and it hurts the NBA TV product – the Pelicans are scheduled to have six national television games from Feb 8-March 12 – what is he going to do here? Nobody’s watching those games without Anthony Davis.
The funniest part in all of this will be if the Pelicans wait until the summer to trade Davis, and the Celtics don’t offer Jayson Tatum, and the Lakers offer less than what they’re putting up now.