Pelicans should never allow Anthony Davis to play for them again

It's in their best interests to keep their star on ice. . .

Seth Dunlap
February 05, 2019 - 8:35 pm

One of the more intriguing questions looming over the Anthony Davis saga in New Orleans is whether he'll suit up again for the Pelicans this season amid his trade demands.

The Pelicans brass, including Mickey Loomis, Dell Demps, and Alvin Gentry have expressed no desire to let Davis play for the franchise again this season.  In fact, they removed Davis from the team's pregame hype video soon after his trade request.  Gentry, when asked directly if Davis will play again for the team, smartly responded with a non-answer filibuster.  Watch Gentry's answer in the embedded Tweet below, or here.  

Meanwhile, some across the league are openly complaining that Davis is being unfairly treated by the Pelicans, who have so far refused to play him.  Some are even demanding that the NBA intervene and force the Pelicans to allow Davis on the court.  Many of these complaints and requests are coming from -- guess where? -- Los Angeles and those who cover the team.  It's possible, perhaps even probable, that the Lakers are fostering some of this conversation, whether directly in conversations with the commissioner's office or indirectly through leaks to the media.  

Very clearly, none of these complains or requests means much of anything.  There's no precedent in the NBA for the league offices, nor the commissioner, to intervene and demand (see: force) the a team to play a certain player.  The NBA Players Association will certainly defend, what they view as, a player's right to be on the court when healthy.  The Pelicans, however, will defend their clear right to play whatever players they feel is in the best interests of their franchise.  Their best interest is clearly in keeping Anthony Davis on the sidelines and off the court.  It would be irresponsible to risk injury to Davis when the only value he has left to your franchise is in the trade market.  The only thing the Pelicans owe Davis is the money promised in his contract.  

There was better chance that the Saints fans' lawsuit against the NFL would succeed in getting a replay of the NFC Championship game than there is that commissioner Adam Silver is going to start forcing teams to play certain players.  It's not happening, nor should fans of the NBA want it to happen.  Do you really want to open up Pandora's Box of allowing league executives tell teams who to play and when to play them?  That sounds more like the WWE than the NBA.

Will Anthony Davis ever be seen on the court in a Pelicans uniform again?  Perhaps after the trade deadline if he can somehow hoodwink Gentry & Co. to capitulate to another one of his demands.  That may please Davis and his representatives, but it wouldn't accomplish much of anything for the Pelicans other than risking yet another injury to your incredibly valuable trade asset and possibly winning a few more games this season -- something that they probably shouldn't want, considering extra victories will mean less ping pong balls in this summer's NBA Draft lottery.  

The Pelicans should continue to operate with only their best interests in mind at this point.  That means shelving Anthony Davis until he's shipped off to Los Angeles, Boston, New York, or whatever other destination gets them the best return on their six-and-a-half year investment.

You can listen to Seth Dunlap on "The Last Lap" every weeknight from 8-11 p.m. CT on WWL Radio! 

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