Anthony Davis Rumors: Pelicans Stopped Star from Playing Amid Trade Talks
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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis huddles with teammates on the court before an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in New Orleans, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

If Anthony Davis plays again for the New Orleans Pelicans, it likely won’t be until after Thursday’s trade deadline.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Pelicans kept Davis out of action Monday night even though the superstar recovered from his left finger injury and was healthy enough to play.

Haynes added:

“Davis, 25, eagerly wanted to suit up at home against the Indiana Pacers after recovering from a left finger avulsion that sidelined him for a little more than two weeks, sources said, but the organization elected to keep him inactive. There’s the impression that his absence could potentially extend until the conclusion of Thursday’s trade deadline, sources said.”

Haynes also reported that the Pelicans could shut down Davis for the season at some point after the All-Star break if they don’t trade him before the deadline. 

Davis said last week, however, that he wants to play when he’s healthy.

“My intentions are to play,” he said. “I’ve been working to get my finger back healthy. Obviously, it’s a tough situation, but my intention is to still play and when I’m able to play, I plan on suiting up.”

If the Pelicans plan to go into a tank mode with Davis’ future elsewhere, shutting him down would be the easiest way to accomplish that goal. The Pelicans are just 3-10 when Davis doesn’t play.

As for whether the Pelicans will move Davis before Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be the only realistic destination for him this season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Davis would be willing to sign a long-term extension with the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks.

Neither the Clippers nor Bucks have the assets to top a Lakers trade package, however, while any Knicks offer would be built around their 2019 first-round pick. That will become far more attractive if it lands at No. 1 overall, and trading Davis to the Knicks now would only decrease the possibility of that happening, since he’d improve New York dramatically.

The possibility remains that the best offers the Pelicans could receive would come this summer from teams such as the Knicks or Boston Celtics. But if the Pelicans do a deal with the Lakers before Thursday, it reportedly won’t come cheap for L.A.:

Players of Davis’ ability don’t come around often, and the Lakers will have to pay up accordingly. If they don’t, we may not see much more of Davis on the court this season.

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