Anthony Davis

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Benson, Gentry, Jackson

Pelicans owner Tom Benson passed away earlier this week at 90 years old. Benson, who struggled for almost a month with flu-like symptoms, has been posthumously honored by many in the sports world and earned praise for his efforts to keep professional football and basketball in the city of New Orleans.

Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis was among those to speak highly of Benson. Davis sent out a tweet thanking Benson for all his contributions, both to him personally and the city of New Orleans, William Guillory of relays.

“Mr. Benson has meant so much to this city & to my career in NOLA,” Davis said in the tweet. “Mr. B & his wife Gayle treated me like family since I arrived & I’m forever indebted to them for their kindness & generosity.”

Check out more notes from the Pelicans below:

  • Following Tom Benson’s death, it was reported that his wife, Gayle Benson, would take over as the owner of the Pelicans. In a statement released to, Benson promised to do her best to ensure future success for both the Saints and Pelicans. “I would like to assure you that we planned carefully for this day and, while my husband could never be replaced, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful leadership team and staff and we will move forward successfully together,” Gayle said in the statement. “We cannot thank you enough for all of the joy you gave my husband and will continue to do everything within our power to make you proud of our teams and city.”
  • Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has been fined $15K for critical comments of the officials in the team’s loss to the Rockets on Saturday, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
  • As we relayed yesterday, the Pelicans have given up on rookie Frank Jackson playing this season. Jackson suffered a foot fracture in August and despite a modest three to four-month recovery projection, Jackson did recover as hoped. The team has denied that any setbacks occurred.

Anthony Davis Hurts Ankle; MRI Reveals Sprain

4:33pm: Davis has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain, today’s MRI revealed, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He is being listed as day-to-day and his doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Wizards.

8:32am: Pelicans star Anthony Davis will undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage to his left ankle, according to an ESPN report.

An injury forced Davis out of a game for the second straight night, this time when he rolled the ankle after grabbing a rebound in the third quarter. X-rays taken Wednesday night were negative, and the MRI will be conducted once the team returns to New Orleans from its West Coast swing.

“Won’t know anything until tomorrow,” coach Alvin Gentry told reporters after the game. “They took X-rays but couldn’t really tell a lot from the X-rays, so we’ll go back home, and I’m sure he’ll have an MRI at some stage tomorrow, and we’ll have more information.”

The Pelicans topped the Kings for their 10th straight win, and Davis has been putting up MVP numbers throughout the streak. He had 17 points, five rebounds and five blocks in 23 minutes before leaving the game. He also suffered bruised ribs Tuesday against the Clippers, but was able to return to the floor.

Davis, who was apparently being fitted for a walking boot after last night’s game, didn’t sound concerned that the injury will be a long-term problem.

“I feel fine, but they’ll have the team doctor look at it tomorrow and go from there,” he said. “Any time you twist an ankle it hurts, especially coming off somebody’s foot, because you really don’t have any protection. It was sore. I just wanted to make sure everything was fine.”

Southwest Notes: Davis, Cousins, Gasol, Rockets

Anthony Davis isn’t concerned about losing his All-Star partner on the Pelicans‘ front line this offseason, relays William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. Davis believes free agent DeMarcus Cousins will re-sign in New Orleans, although a season-ending Achilles injury may have clouded his future somewhat.

“I hope so. That’s a decision he has to make. I’m pretty confident that he’ll stay,” Davis said. “From what I hear, he plans on it. But I’m going to keep selling the dream here. I’ll be very involved — I want him here.”

Davis and Cousins formed the league’s most productive duo of big men before the injury, with each averaging better than 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Pelicans faltered immediately after losing Cousins, but have won nine in a row to rise to fourth place in the West. Cousins, who still doesn’t have a timetable to start playing again, is eligible for an offer of up to five years and $175MM from the Pelicans this summer.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pau Gasol advised his younger brother to remain professional and mentally tough as the Grizzlies suffer through a long losing streak, writes Ronald Tillery of USA Today. The frustration in Memphis is something new for Marc Gasol, who has been to the playoffs the past seven years. “What I told him is, ‘Do your best. Keep competing.’ That’s the only thing you can control,” Pau said. “You can’t control that one of your best players, Mike Conley, is out for the year. You can’t control that [Chandler] Parsons, one of your biggest signings, has an [injury] issue and so forth. All you can control is your effort, your work ethic, your mindset going into games.”
  • The Grizzlies should make trading Gasol a priority for the offseason, contends Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Moving Gasol would not only bring a nice package of players and draft picks, Davies argues, it would also get rid of an unhappy star and shed one of the three huge contracts that are clogging the team’s salary cap.
  • Lost amid the Rockets‘ 16-game winning streak is the fact that the team has been dealing with a series of injuries and illnesses, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The two most pressing concerns are a left hip injury to Ryan Anderson, who hopes to return this week, and knee soreness bothering newly signed center Brandan Wright.

Anthony Davis Talks Pelicans, Future, Free Agency

Anthony Davis is committed to the Pelicans for the remainder of his contract but is hesitant to guarantee he will remain with the team after 2021. In an interview with ESPN over the weekend, Davis raised some eyebrows as he said the Pelicans were a title contender with a healthy DeMarcus Cousins and that he is concerned about waiting too long to demand a trade to a contending team. With Cousins out for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon, the organization’s future is uncertain moving forward.

Davis spoke to reporters, including Scott Kushner of The Advocate (links via Twitter), on Thursday at Pelicans practice to address his situation. Among his comments, Davis praised the effort of New Orleans’ front office to improve the team and his mindset entering each season.

While the Pelicans are missing Cousins’ production, Davis has been his usual stellar self, averaging 27.4 PPG and 10.7 RPG through 51 games. At 31-26, the Pelicans are currently a half-game up on the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

On his future with the Pelicans:

“I’m here until 2021 and then I’ll make a decision from there. I don’t plan on leaving in the next couple of years or anything like that. I’ve always said I wanted to be here and that’s still true.”

On the Pelicans’ efforts to compete for the postseason:

“We have taken steps to be a winning franchise. We have just been hit with the injury bug every year since I’ve been here so we can’t see our full potential. We know where we could’ve been if we had those guys. But we don’t. We have to keep playing.”

On his thoughts entering each season:

“You have to take it year by year. I don’t go into any year saying I don’t want to be here or nothing like that. Of course at some point you want to win. I feel like we are trying to get the right pieces around here.”

On the Pelicans’ front office and their effort to compete:

“I think our front office is doing a better job. The best job they can do. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction. But you do have to take it year by year and see how it goes. That’s how I’m approaching it. Of course [Cousins] is a big factor, what he is going to do or not.”

Pelicans A Title Contender With Healthy Cousins?

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols over All-Star weekend, Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis shared what he thought of the Pelicans’ ceiling before teammate DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“We could have gone through the playoffs. No one could really stop us as bigs. We go to the Finals if we went,” Davis told Nichols. “[Teammate Rajon Rondo] reminds us of it: ‘You guys are the two best bigs. I know what it takes to win championships; we got it.'”

Before Cousins’ injury, Davis and he were on pace to become the first teammates ever to each average 25 points and 10 rebounds per game for a season. Moreover, New Orleans was in sixth place in the West and climbing in the standings and Cousins was averaging MVP-caliber numbers.

Cousins will be a free agent this summer, so it’s interesting to wonder whether Davis genuinely believes the Pelicans could have realistically competed for a title this season or if he was just flattering Cousins as a recruiting tactic.

Davis is under contract with New Orleans through the 2020/21 season, but says that hearing former players such as Kevin Garnett express regret about not asking sooner for a trade to a more competitive franchise has made him think.

“It makes you think, ’cause you’re wondering if you’re following in that same path,” he said. “But then again, you’re like, ‘This year could be the year.’ So, just got to take it year by year and just see, and see where the team is going, what direction they want to go to and just see where their head is.”

Southwest Notes: Smith, Davis, Harrison, Martin

Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. impressed with his performance in the Dunk Contest, finishing third behind winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. While the exposure from being in the event was great for the youngster, Smith understands that it’s not a guarantee that he will be a future All-Star, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News writes.

“There’s a lot of guys who do the dunk contest that will never be in the All-Star Game,” Smith said. “But then again, I was in the Rising Stars. It’s all about timing. I’ll pace myself and whenever my time comes, I’ll be in there.”

Smith, 20, has been solid for the Mavericks this season, averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.9 APG. He has been mentioned in Rookie of the Year discussions alongside Ben Simmons and Mitchell.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Anthony Davis‘ evolution from All-Star game reserve to All-Star Game MVP to perennial All-Star has solidified him among the NBA’s elite, Scott Kushner of The Journal Times writes. Davis has taken the appropriate steps to increase his worth, including a developed three-point shot and intense rebounding. The regular season progression has been special but Kushner questions Davis maintaining that effectiveness in the postseason.
  • Sunday’s All-Star game was supposed to be a celebratory moment for Davis and DeMarcus Cousins as they were the two Pelicans selected to the event. However, a season-ending torn Achilles heel sidelined Cousins for the rest of 2017/18 and cast doubt on whether or not the impending free agent will ever team with Davis again, Kushner writes in a separate story.
  • Jarell Martin and Andrew Harrison were not expected to be major factors for the Grizzlies this season, having been candidates to be released in training camp. Even though the team is out of contention, both players have been solid, Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal writes.

Southwest Notes: Parker, Pelicans, Conley

Recently relegated reserve guard Tony Parker will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the veteran is eager to remain with the Spurs if they’ll have him, Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express News writes.

My priority is to stay here. I want to stay here for sure,” Parker said before pausing and adding that it’s ultimately Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich‘s decision.

In 28 games for the Spurs this season, Parker has averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 assists. Recently, however, Parker has ceded his starting role to 21-year-old Dejounte Murray. As a starter, Parker averaged 23.8 minutes per game. In seven games off the bench, that’s dropped to 17.4 and his other stat totals have predictably dropped too.

As Young writes, when Parker’s three-year, $43MM deal expires, the 35-year-old could attract the attention of other teams potentially looking to add veteran support. In 2016, the Sixers made a hefty offer to Manu Ginobili.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Veteran Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley made the decision to undergo season-ending heel surgery to correct an issue that he’s been struggling with for some time now, Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “I’ve had this for three years. All the way back three years ago one of the doctors said eventually you’ll need to have this heel shaved down,” Conley said “I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to exhaust every option before going to that extent.”
  • Teams around the league have realized that Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis isn’t available, but that doesn’t mean circumstances won’t change if the franchise eventually shakes up its front office, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes.
  • Don’t tell Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry how to manage his team’s minutes. Gentry, in his third-year at the helm of the franchise, told William Guillory of The Times-Picayune that he plays his stars big minutes out of necessity.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Favors, Mavericks, Walker

Anthony Davis‘ return to Boston on Tuesday night prompted another round of speculation about the possibility of the Celtics acquiring the Pelicans‘ star in a trade at some point. However, appearing today on Dan Le Batard’s show, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shot down that speculation, suggesting that there’s nothing to the rumors linking Davis to Boston (Twitter links via Jake Madison of Locked on Pels).

According to Wojnarowski, Davis still wants to make things work in New Orleans, and that feeling is certainly mutual. It would take a major change in direction for the franchise to consider moving Davis, according to Woj, who reiterates that the Pelicans still want to re-sign DeMarcus Cousins this summer to keep their star-studded frontcourt intact.

Here are a few more trade notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Wojnarowski provided another trade-related tidbit on Tuesday during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump. According to Spencer Checketts of 1280 Sports in Utah (Twitter link), Wojnarowski confirmed that the Cavaliers are looking to add size, noting that Jazz big man Derrick Favors might be a fit. Teams are calling Utah to ask about Favors, according to Woj.
  • With about $85.6MM in team salary on their 2017/18 books, the Mavericks are one of the few teams with the cap flexibility to take on contracts this season, and they intend to take advantage of that flexibility if they can, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. “I would say we are looking to use our cap space actively,” owner Mark Cuban said this week. “We will take back salary to get picks or guys we think can play.”
  • While Hornets point guard Kemba Walker is worth keeping an eye on as the trade deadline approaches, it doesn’t appear at this point that Charlotte will seriously consider moving him, as Steve Kyler writes in a Basketball Insiders article and on Twitter.

Pacific Notes: Teodosic, Davis, Fox

There’s no exact timetable for Milos Teodosic‘s return, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. The seasoned Clippers rookie is making progress after missing Saturday’s contest but remains sidelined with the same injury that plagued him earlier this season.

Teodosic missed 22 games with the plantar fascia injury from October to mid-December but managed to work his way back into a significant role in the Clippers rotation.

On the season, Teodosic has averaged 8.4 points and 5.2 assists in 24.4 minutes per game for the Clippers.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • The Warriors always tend to have an eye on their major long-term goals, kicking around possible acquisition targets that they could pursue when the time is right. Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes that one of those targets could be Anthony Davis.
  • Rookie guard De’Aaron Fox has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive to take advantage of his speed, specifically in half-court sets. As Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes, the decision paid off in a recent Kings‘ win. “I was just able to create and if it wasn’t my assist it was a hockey assist – so it was a pass and another pass. Just trying to be able to start the offense and get the defense moving.
  • The Suns won’t be welcoming big man Alan Williams back to the lineup before February but the 24-year-old is still heavily involved with his team. Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes that Williams has become a very noticeably enthusiastic supporter of his teammates.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Russell, Hardaway Jr.

The Nets roster boasts two of the top-three 2015 draft picks but neither are currently in the lineup, nor are they expected to be in the near future. Brian Lewis of the New York Post confirms that while D’Angelo Russell is five weeks into his recovery from arthroscopic surgery last month, he’s still a couple of weeks away.

Jahlil Okafor, on the other hand, is out for a different reason. Prior to his acquisition on December 7, Okafor was seldom used by the Sixers, seeing action in just two games for Philly. The big man played for the Nets last week but has been held out since.

I’d hate to put an exact date on [when Okafor will play again]. Depending on how he feels, we’re going day-to-day,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “I’d assume he’s still probably a week-and-a-half or two weeks away from where he feels comfortable out there and be able to play at the pace in which coach Kenny Atkinson and his staff want to play at.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • While they still haven’t released a timetable for his return, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made progress in his recovery from a leg injury, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The swingman can push off of his leg a little bit and will be re-evaluated again next week.
  • The versatile contributions of Delon Wright have served the Raptors well, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. The 25-year-old is long and athletic, capable of both running with the squad and being patient when they need him to be. Wright has averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season.
  • The Celtics have been said to be interested in acquiring Anthony Davis. One C’s writer, however, doesn’t want the club to go all in on the Pelicans‘ superstar. D.J. Bean of NBC Sports Boston writes that giving up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may be too much, especially considering that the Warriors are going to be a formidable contender to seriously compete with over the next few seasons.