Anthony Davis

Pelicans May Re-Engage NBA On Davis Situation

With the Pelicans set to resume play this Friday in Indiana, it’s still not clear whether Anthony Davis will continue to take the court for the team going forward.

Davis has said he plans to play the rest of the season, and it appears the shoulder injury that knocked him out of last Thursday’s contest is minor, as he was able to play in the All-Star Game. However, there are reportedly members of the Pelicans’ organization who believe he has played his last game for the team — the club would prefer to sit him to minimize the risk of an injury that would adversely impact his trade value ahead of a crucial offseason.

In a column addressing the Davis situation, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes of “strong signals” that the Pelicans intend to re-engage the NBA this week to discuss the matter. The organization, which replaced general manager Dell Demps with interim GM Danny Ferry last week, hopes to convince league officials to reconsider their stance on forcing the Pelicans to play Davis, says Stein.

When the Pelicans initially mulled the possibility of sitting Davis following the trade deadline, the league reportedly reached out to remind them that teams are subject to fines of $100K for benching healthy players. New Orleans wouldn’t be the first club to sit a healthy veteran this season, but the NBA wants to make a distinction between a difference maker like AD and lesser players like J.R. Smith and Enes Kanter.

In Stein’s view, the league’s stance that the Pelicans would be hurting the ticket-buying public by holding Davis out of action rings hollow, since fans in New Orleans recognize that the All-Star big man no longer wants to be there. Forcing the Pelicans to play him against their will is making an uncomfortable situation even more toxic, Stein argues.

With 23 games left on the Pelicans’ schedule, this will be a situation worth keeping a close eye on the rest of the way. If the club eventually decides to sit Davis – with or without the NBA’s approval – the players’ union may get involved, which would make things even messier. But if the Pelicans hope to maximize their return for Davis in an offseason trade, the drama may be worth it.

Poll: Anthony Davis’ 2019/20 Team

When the Pelicans opted to hang onto Anthony Davis at this season’s trade deadline, it ensured that the Davis saga in New Orleans, which began when his camp publicly requested a trade last month, would drag on for at least several more months.

While Davis and the Pelicans still have to figure out how much he’ll play – or whether he should be playing at all – for the rest of the season, the two sides are essentially on a holding pattern for now. It’s not as if the team is going to buy out the All-NBA big man, so we’ll have to wait until the offseason for trade talks to heat up and for the possibility of Davis changing teams to potentially become a reality.

Given how messy things already are in New Orleans, it seems extremely unlikely that the Pelicans will once again pass on the opportunity to trade Davis during the offseason. I’d expect Davis to be on a new team by opening night of the 2019/20 season, but it remains to be seen which team that will be.

The Celtics, who weren’t eligible to trade for Davis as long as Kyrie Irving was on his current contract, may emerge as the front-runner, particularly now that AD has added them to his list of preferred destinations. However, other teams on his wish list shouldn’t be ruled out.

The Lakers can still put a tantalizing combination of young players and draft picks on the table this summer, and the Knicks may hold a trump card if they land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Bucks probably can’t make a realistic play for Davis, but the Clippers could — a package headlined by promising young prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a handful of unprotected picks would be intriguing.

Of course, as the Pelicans have tried to make clear, Davis and his camp don’t control this process, which means that New Orleans doesn’t necessarily have to send him to a team on his wish list. In recent years, teams like the Thunder (Paul George) and Raptors (Kawhi Leonard) have come out of nowhere to make trades for star players, and those moves have paid off for those franchises, at least so far.

In the case of Davis, an unlikely suitor could certainly talk itself into making a play for the All-Star — after all, if things go south quickly, that team could always flip him at the trade deadline in 2020. If things work out, a deep playoff run and a five-year maximum-salary offer could make AD re-think his long-term plans.

What do you think? Which team will Davis play for when the 2019/20 season gets underway? Is there any chance he’s still a Pelican? Will a longtime frontrunner like the Lakers or Celtics land him? Or will a dark-horse suitor make a play?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Pelicans Notes: Davis, GM Search, Gentry, Holiday

Shortly after the Pelicans dismissed general manager Dell Demps on Friday, Sam Amick of The Athletic cited sources who said there was no plan in place for how to handle the Anthony Davis situation after the All-Star break. On Sunday night, a tweet from Scott Kushner of The Advocate suggested that there’s still no resolution.

According to Kushner, there are people within the Pelicans’ organization who believe that Davis has played his last game for the team. However, the big man played in the All-Star Game on Sunday and his shoulder injury isn’t expected to sideline him going forward. He has also made it clear he wants to play down the stretch.

[RELATED: Anthony Davis plans to play rest of season, confirms teams on trade list]

With the NBA not stepping in to clarify its position on the issue, it’s not clear what the tipping point will be, according to Kushner, who predicts that the situation will continue to be a “weird” one going forward.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • The Pelicans, who reportedly plan to target high-level executives for their GM opening, are expected to hire a search firm to vet outside candidates, per Amick.
  • In a column for The Advocate, Kushner argues that the Pelicans’ next general manager should learn from Demps’ mistakes — namely, Demps’ strategy of trading first-round picks for “young veterans” backfired, since New Orleans’ rosters during the last several years typically lacked depth and were short on affordable rookie contracts.
  • While the Davis saga has been a mess for the franchise, head coach Alvin Gentry and star guard Jrue Holiday have emerged as “sympathetic, admirable figures,” Kushner writes in a separate piece for The Advocate. According to Kushner, “Gentry and Holiday are the stewards who should be remembered for carrying a wounded franchise across a period of dread with dignity and pride.”

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Demps, Benson, Okafor

Despite Anthony Davis not wanting to be the bad guy, his botched trade request in New Orleans has left him with no other choice, Michael Lee of The Athletic writes.

Davis made his request last month through agent Rich Paul, who took the request to various media outlets and publicized his client’s wish. Davis confirmed his list of preferred trade destinations over All-Star Weekend: The Bucks, Celtics, Clippers, Knicks and Lakers.

“When you’re somewhere for seven years, of course it’s tough but, I don’t know how long I’m going to play this game,” Davis said, according to Lee. “I want to make sure I have a chance to win. I want to win. Like I said, no matter where it is. I have no preferred destination. But I want to play the game of basketball and I want to win. I just felt like it was time for me to move forward, try to take control of my career and go out there and try to win.

“Market doesn’t matter to me. I just want to win,” Davis said. “Big market, small market, that doesn’t matter. I’m focused on winning at this point in my career, wherever that may be. It could be a big market or a small market, I just want to win.”

Davis will have to finish out the 2018/19 season in New Orleans despite seeking a trade. The Pelicans failed to move him before the Feb. 7 trading deadline, meaning the earliest they can open new trade discussions is when season comes to an end.

Davis has mostly received boos from Pelicans fans in pregame intros, and the reaction from the fan base on social media has been mixed.

There’s more out of New Orleans today:

  • The Pelicans made the right decision by parting ways with general manager Dell Demps last week, Ben Golliver of The Washington Post opines. Demps, who served as New Orleans’ GM for nine seasons, failed to effectively build a winning roster around Davis since drafting him back in 2012. Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said the team will immediately begin the process of restructuring its basketball operations department, which will include a comprehensive and confidential search of a new leader that reports to Benson.
  • Benson’s next major decision will either break or make the Pelicans, Larry Holder of The Athletic writes. New Orleans has to decide whether to trade Davis this offseason, or try to persuade him into staying with their younger group. “I think they’re young, and we’re going to invest more money and get the big players and do everything we can to keep Anthony here,” Benson said. “I really like what we have in place. I really like Anthony, but if he wants to leave, you can’t hold him back.”
  • William Guillory of The Athletic hosted a Q&A with Jahlil Okafor, who’s having a bounce-back season with the Pelicans through 38 games. Okafor discussed his mentality this season, playing with Davis, how he’s improved as a player and much more in the story.

Dell Demps’ Firing Bad News For Knicks?

The ouster of Pelicans GM Dell Demps could complicate the Knicks‘ hopes of landing Anthony Davis in a trade this summer, writes Frank Isola of The Athletic.

Knicks president Steve Mills had informal talks with Demps last month about a deal involving Davis and Kristaps Porzingis, according to Isola. Porzingis was since shipped to the Mavericks in a trade that enabled New York to open two max salary slots for free agency.

A source tells Isola that Demps wanted to wait until after the draft lottery before resuming talks so he would know where New York would be picking. Second in the league in our current Reverse Standings, the Knicks have a 14% chance of winning the lottery and getting a shot at Duke standout Zion Williamson, whom Demps was intrigued by. Demps also has a prior connection with New York, having served as a scout for the organization.

The team has a much different relationship with former Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who is considered one of the potential front-runners to replace Demps in New Orleans. Another source tells Isola that Griffin was considering an offer to become GM of the Knicks two years ago, but turned it down when he discovered he wouldn’t be solely in charge of personnel decisions. While Griffin was negotiating with New York, Mills signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a long-term contract.

Another top contender for the Pelicans post, Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren, presents an even worse scenario for the Knicks and Lakers, Isola adds. Zarren is considered “the right-hand man” to Boston GM Danny Ainge and has a strong familiarity with the young players who would be key to any deal with the Celtics.

Anthony Davis Plans To Play Rest Of Season, Confirms Trade List

Anthony Davis confirmed today that he intends to play in Sunday’s All-Star game and the remainder of the season, and also confirmed the list of his preferred trade destinations during media availability with reporters Saturday in Charlotte.

The Pelicans’ All-Star suffered a left shoulder muscle contusion on Thursday in a collision with Thunder center Nerlens Noel. After he requested a trade from New Orleans but was not dealt ahead of the February 7 deadline, Davis’ future for the rest of the season became unclear.

Not only does Davis intend to play in the All-Star game, but the six-time All-Star confirmed he plans to suit up the remainder of the season. The Pelicans face potential fines from the league if they elect to sit a healthy Davis for the rest of the season.

In 45 games this season, Davis has averaged 28.1 PPG, 12.9 RPG and 4.2 APG for the Pelicans. Before Thursday’s injury, New Orleans reportedly planned to play Davis but reduce his workload and sit him in the back end of back-to-back games.

The 25-year-old also spoke candidly on his trade request and his possible destination. Davis confirmed his reported list of four preferred teams in a trade ahead of the deadline, which includes the Lakers, Clippers, Bucks and Knicks.

“Whatever list that came out that’s between the Pelicans and my agent,” Davis said, per Sean Deveney of Sporting News. “But it’s true.”

The Lakers were the most aggressive team pursuing the big man but failed to agree on a trade. Davis also called the Knicks a “great franchise” during his media session, before mentioning a possible fifth destination: the Celtics.

“They are on my list,” Davis said of the Celtics (via Sporting News’ Sean Deveney). “….I never said they weren’t on my list.”

Boston was unable to acquire Davis this season without including Kyrie Irving in a proposed deal due to Rose Rule restrictions. However, with Irving hitting unrestricted free agency this summer, Boston would no longer be hindered by that rule and could potentially pair him along with Davis.

As we relayed, the Celtics are reportedly prepared to offer an “explosive” package for Davis. A potential Boston trade could include any combination of Jayson TatumJaylen BrownMarcus Smart, and a slew of future first-round picks, including selections from the Kings, Clippers, and Grizzlies.

In a later interview with NBA TV, Davis claimed he never gave a preferred destination and is merely seeking an opportunity to win.

“All 29 other teams are on my list,” Davis said. “I don’t have a preferred destination, I just want to win. Big market, small market [teams] — I don’t care, I want to win. Obviously, whatever team I get traded to, play for it that year or whatever…Then, when free agency comes, we’ll see what happens.”

Pelicans Rumors: Griffin, Front Office, Davis

Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is among the possible preliminary candidates to replace Dell Demps as the Pelicans‘ GM, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also be a target for New Orleans, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Team owner Gayle Benson, who wants to find a pathway to sustainable success in a small market, intends to be aggressive in pursuing the “best available candidates” to run the club’s basketball operations, according to Wojnarowski.

[RELATED: Pelicans parting ways with GM Dell Demps]

Elsewhere in his full report on Demps’ dismissal, Wojnarowski relays that Benson is looking to take back control of the Pelicans from the “outside forces” she believes have tried to push the franchise in a direction that isn’t in the club’s best interests.

While Woj doesn’t get into specifics, it seems safe to assume that’s a reference to the efforts Anthony Davis‘ camp made to get him moved to the Lakers prior to the trade deadline.

Here’s more on the Pelicans and their front office shakeup:

  • The determination to fire Demps was made by Benson, making it the first major decision of her tenure as Pelicans owner, tweets Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune.
  • The Pelicans have known for weeks that Demps would likely need to be replaced, according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, who says (via Twitter) that the club had initially hoped to wait until the end of the season to finalize its decision.
  • Kushner also suggests (via Twitter) that today’s move makes it clear that the Lakers/Davis saga leading up to the deadline was controlled by team ownership rather than Demps, since the club wouldn’t have let him make the final call on a decision of that magnitude if he was about to be fired.
  • Prior to Demps’ dismissal, Chris Mannix of SI.com dropped an interesting tidbit in a story about Davis and the Pelicans, citing sources who said that New Orleans may have been more open to dealing with the Lakers at the deadline if Davis’ trade request had been “handled quietly.”
  • Jordan Greer of Sporting News argues that – after Davis’ latest injury and Demps’ firing – the time is right for the Pelicans to sit AD for the rest of the season.

Anthony Davis Diagnosed With Shoulder Muscle Contusion

Pelicans star Anthony Davis was forced out of action during Thursday’s win over Oklahoma City due to a left shoulder injury that has been diagnosed as a muscle contusion, reports ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Davis – along with agent Rich Paul – left the game before it was over to undergo an MRI, which revealed the contusion.

Shelburne’s source described the injury, which Davis sustained during a collision with Thunder center Nerlens Noel, as “nothing too bad.” According to Shelburne, Davis will still head to Charlotte for All-Star weekend and will receive treatment on his injured shoulder over the next few days. Depending on how he feels by Sunday, the big man still may still play in the 2019 All-Star Game.

While Davis’ injury doesn’t sound serious, it shines a spotlight on the uncomfortable situation that he and the Pelicans find themselves in. New Orleans would reportedly prefer to shut down AD for the rest of the season in order to preserve his health in advance of offseason trade talks, but the six-time All-Star wants to keep playing and the Pelicans may be fined $100K per game if they sit him when he’s healthy.

It will be interesting to see whether Davis plays in Sunday’s All-Star Game — if he misses that contest, the Pelicans might be justified in holding him out a little longer after the break.

The Davis saga has loomed larger over the franchise for the last few weeks, something head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged in his post-game comments on Thursday night, as ESPN’s Tim MacMahon relays.

“To tell you the truth, this whole thing has been a dumpster fire,” Gentry said. “We want guys to be professional and we want them to do this, but it’s hard for guys to go through what they’ve been through. And to be able to come out and beat a team of that quality, I’m happy for all the guys. I just thought they did a great job.”

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Davis, Grizzlies, Mavs

While Anthony Davis is back on the court for the Pelicans after last week’s trade deadline drama, things don’t look quite right in New Orleans. On Tuesday night, the Pelicans were run off their home court by the Magic, suffering a 118-88 loss to a team outside the playoff picture in the East.

“We sucked,” Davis said after the game, per Brett Martel of The Associated Press. “Nobody was interested in playing, is what it looked like.”

It certainly seems possible that Davis’ trade request and all the speculation about his future continues to impact the Pelicans’ performance on the floor. Head coach Alvin Gentry was in no mood to have that discussion though, as Martel relays.

“What we’re trying to do is just move on from it. We need to bury it,” Gentry said of Davis’ decision to request a trade. “Whatever our new normal is, we want to get back to that and put all the other stuff behind us and just start playing and trying to win basketball games, and trying to compete and try to get our young players better. That’s all I want to do. That’s it. And I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m done talking about it.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In a column for The Advocate, Scott Kushner argues that the Davis saga – particularly his return to the court – has been a “prolonged, smug jab at the intelligence of Pelicans fans.” In Kushner’s view, the Pelicans and Davis are no longer invested in one another, and the team should either stand up to the NBA by benching Davis or have someone from management or ownership publicly address the situation.
  • Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley appeared likely to be traded leading up to last week’s deadline, and admitted that he had trouble sleeping and checked his phone “a thousand times,” as Royce Young of ESPN.com details. Conley, who described Thursday as a long, emotional, and difficult day, has been fairly quiet on the court since the deadline, scoring 11 points on Saturday and then missing Tuesday’s game with an illness.
  • In advance of Jonas Valanciunas‘ debut with the Grizzlies on Tuesday, David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explored how the team’s newest big man would fit in. The plan is for Valanciunas to come off the bench behind Ivan Rabb, but if he keeps playing like he did last night (23 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes), that plan may be short-lived.
  • During a radio appearance on KESN-FM 103.3 ESPN in Dallas, Bobby Marks examined how the Mavericks might use their cap room this summer after moving Harrison Barnes, suggesting that Nikola Vucevic will be among Dallas’ top targets (link via The Dallas Morning News). The Mavs’ interest in Vucevic was previously reported.

Lakers Notes: Simmons, Hart, Ball, Zubac

The Lakers released a statement stating that the Sixers had sought their permission for floor leader Ben Simmons to speak with team president Magic Johnson, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Philadelphia emailed the Lakers in November, according to the statement, asking if Simmons could speak with Johnson about his Hall of Fame career. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka subsequently told Sixers GM Elton Brand that Johnson could only do that with Philadelphia’s written pre-approval. That was the end of the matter, the release adds. The league has launched an investigation to determine if any communication between the parties violated league rules.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Guard Josh Hart received a PRP injection to treat tendinitis in his right knee, according to a team press release. Hart will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break, the release adds. Hart didn’t play in blowout losses against Indiana and Philadelphia and only lasted eight scoreless minutes against Boston.
  • Lonzo Ball isn’t considered a defensive specialist but the Lakers have missed him at that end of the court, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times notes. The Lakers’ defensive rating is the third-worst in the league in the nine games since Ball was sidelined by a severe ankle sprain. “He allows us to switch a lot,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “If they want to run any pick and roll minus the center, the 1-5 pick and roll, we can just switch it. And we feel confident Lonzo can guard most of the other players there. We have Lonzo picking up full-court the other team’s points guard. He’s great at instincts, getting deflections.”
  • Trading young center Ivica Zubac to the Clippers to ‘rent’ power forward Mike Muscala doesn’t make much sense, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report argues. Zubac could have been an inexpensive, long-term contributor for the Lakers, Pincus continues. He would have been a restricted free agent with a modest cap hold of $1.9 million. Muscala’s cap hold is $9.5MM and he might not be any more productive than Zubac would have been the rest of this season.
  • LeBron James claims the reason he drafted Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis for his All-Star team had nothing to do with recruiting, according to another Ganguli story. “That’s all part of the speculation that continues to drive our sport,” he said. “It’s all good and well and dandy, but for me I picked according to my draft board and I picked according to who was the best available.”