Anthony Davis to return to Pelicans' lineup, won't be shut down
Davis was not traded before deadline and will play remainder of season with Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After Anthony Davis found out he wouldn’t be traded this season, the six-time All-Star learned the New Orleans Pelicans will let him suit up for the remainder of the season.
While Davis had stated publicly that he’s ready to move on from New Orleans, he also had said he was prepared to play for the Pelicans as long as he remained under contract with them.
”Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play and he gives our team the best opportunity to win games. Moreover, the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organization with NBA policies,” the Pelicans said in a statement Thursday night. ”We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans. We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 8, 2019
The Pelicans initially appeared inclined to move on without Davis and focus on the players who might help them going forward. Davis’ image has been removed from promotional materials, the club’s official website and even a team hype video that plays before home games on the Smoothie King Center’s expansive scoreboard screens hanging above the court.
But benching a healthy player could potentially infringe on NBA rules designed to protect the investments of ticket holders and broadcast partners alike against the prospects of star players being arbitrarily rested.
Those rules, for example, prohibit clubs from ”resting healthy players for any high-profile, nationally televised game.” Doing so, the rules state, ”will constitute conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the NBA and result in a fine of at least $100,000.”
The Pelicans play next on Friday night at home against Minnesota, and the game is slated for national television.
There is a gray area in that the rules provide for exceptions in ”unusual circumstances,” but the Pelicans elected not to force the NBA into a position of having to rule on whether Davis’ public trade request through his agent, Rich Paul, constituted an unusual circumstance in this case.
Public trade requests are also banned by NBA rules, and Davis was fined $50,000.