But there’s also the pesky matter of what the Pelicans star will do the rest of this season.
Davis has repeatedly said he wants to play. The NBA threatened to fine the Pelicans if they didn’t play him. So, they put him in the lineup… to get booed by New Orleans fans. His performance in four games since the trade deadline has been incredibly uneven, ranging from elite to dreadful. In the Pelicans’ last game before the All-Star break, Davis left the arena after suffering an shoulder injury. He played just five minutes in the All-Star game, fewer than anyone but 40-year-old Dirk Nowitzki
So, what now?
According to sources on both sides, there is no plan yet in place for how they will handle this after the All-Star break. The Pelicans and Davis (with Paul advising) are re-evaluating the best way to handle his playing time – again.
While sources say the situation has not involved the National Basketball Players Association to this point, that would change if New Orleans attempted to protect its monumental trade chip by sitting Davis for the rest of the season – presuming he wanted to play. Then again, maybe Davis decides that he’s better off training in obscurity while we wait to see where his next stop might be.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry called the situation a “dumpster fire.” New Orleans can’t just simply return to the status quo.
But who makes this call?
New Orleans just fired general manager Dell Demps to elevate Danny Ferry into the interim role. Pelicans owner Gayle Benson is seeking someone to run basketball operations and report directly to her, but she hasn’t made that hire yet. The league can obviously intervene, too.
I’m extremely uneasy about making Davis a healthy scratch for nearly two months in the midst of an excellent season. But even just four games of him playing has been so ugly. Pelicans fans don’t want it. The Pelicans probably don’t want it. After his injury scare and dealing with the fallout of his trade request, Davis might not still want it.
Does the NBA? That’s the big question. Davis is a national draw. In a league where every game is available streaming online, that matters. The controversy surrounding Davis only adds to the intrigue.
In the end, the interested parties – New Orleans, Davis, NBA – will choose among the uncomfortable options. But at least this part of the saga will end in fewer than two months.
Then, the bigger questions about Davis’ future will kick into high gear.