Report: Anthony Davis Plans to Play for Pelicans Before NBA Trade Deadline

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis talks to guard Jrue Holiday, foreground, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. The Pistons won 98-94. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Anthony Davis might not be moved by the NBA's Feb. 7 trade deadline, but if the star has his way, he won't have played his last game with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported Thursday that Davis "does plan to play for the Pelicans again" ahead of the deadline. That news comes on the heels of Wednesday's reporting from the New York TimesMarc Stein, who said the Pelicans are considering shutting Davis down for the remainder of the season if they don't trade him before the deadline.

They have yet to make a decision either way, but that could be a beneficial arrangement for both sides. The Pelicans are all but eliminated from playoff contention, and Davis has a long injury history. Neither the Pelicans nor Davis would want to run the risk of him getting injured while playing in a meaningless game.

Davis informed New Orleans over the weekend that he would not sign a contract extension with the organization and wishes to be traded, according to Wojnarowski.

"Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship," Davis' agent, Rich Paul, told Wojnarowski on Monday. "Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions, and that's the reason for informing them of this decision now. That's in the best interests of both Anthony's and the organization's future."

The Pelicans acknowledged Davis' trade request but said they would move at their own pace and not at the behest of "those outside of our organization." They may want to hold onto Davis beyond the trade deadline to see how the draft lottery plays out or to await an offer from the Boston Celtics, who cannot acquire Davis until July 1 unless they trade Kyrie Irving.

If the Celtics are willing to part ways with Jayson Tatum as the centerpiece of a package for Davis, they can likely cobble together the best potential offer. 

There's no logical reason for the Pelicans to continue playing Davis if he remains in New Orleans beyond the trade deadline. Since they'll be heading for a rebuild, getting as many pingpong balls in the lottery as possible should be their top priority. Winning the Zion Williamson lottery would be a huge step in the Pelicans' rebuilding process, and Davis being on the floor lowers their chances of losing games. 

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