Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday to Play Fewer Minutes as Pelicans Focus on Future

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 23: Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans high-fives Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans on December 23, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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In what's shaping up to be a lost season, the New Orleans Pelicans will slowly begin taking a long-term view of their priorities.

ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday will both see their playing time diminish slightly, writing, "The team plans to give more minutes to young players as its focuses on the future."

Pelicans interim general manager Danny Ferry discussed the team's plans for both players, per the Advocate's Scott Kushner:

Davis' agent, Rich Paul, largely threw everything into disarray when he told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com the six-time All-Star wanted out of New Orleans. The Feb. 7 trade deadline has come and gone, with Davis unable to get his wish.

As a result, Davis and the Pelicans have to deal with a stressful dynamic until the offseason, when New Orleans can resume trade negotiations.

As Ferry alluded to, the team can't sit Davis. Windhorst reported the Pelicans risked receiving a $100,000 fine for every game in which he was a healthy scratch. Windhorst added New Orleans decided to "act 'ethically' and return Davis to his previous role as starter and centerpiece of the team."

Davis' trade demand is likely a factor in the team's decision about his and Holiday's playing time, but allowing them to rest a little more is a smart move independent of the ongoing drama.

Holiday and Davis are averaging 36.4 and 36.0 minutes, which rank third and sixth, respectively, in the NBA. It doesn't make sense to run them into the ground when the Pelicans are already six games back of the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers and own the Western Conference's third-worst record (26-33).

Davis is basically already on his way out, while offloading Holiday, who can opt out after the 2020-21 season, would further New Orleans' inevitable rebuild. Keeping that in mind, the Pelicans should do everything they can to maintain Davis and Holiday's trade value heading into the summer. 

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