Once considering shutting down center Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans confirmed Thursday night that Davis will be back in the lineup for the rest of the season.
Once the trade deadline passed on Thursday with Davis still on the Pelicans roster, team executives and coach Alvin Gentry met to discuss the plan to reincorporate Davis into the team, league sources told ESPN.
In a statement explaining the decision, general manager Dell Demps said, “A number of factors contributed to this decision. Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play, and he gives our team the best opportunity to win games.”
“Moreover, the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organization with NBA policies. We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans. We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”
The NBA office was originally concerned about the possibility of a healthy star being forced to sit out in this type of situation.
Due to his trade request almost two weeks ago, and informing the organization that he would leave in free agency in 2020, there was the belief that the Pelicans would consider sitting Davis to preserve his health as a trade asset.
Davis missed nine games with a finger injury. He was held out of the last two games before the trade deadline, despite being recovered from the finger injury.
With a season unlikely to lead to the playoffs, it would be in the Pelicans best interest to maintain the health of their star player, and as a result his trade value. While holding Davis out would be their best option, Davis wouldn’t allow it.
Davis said that he wants to return to the lineup and finish the season on the court.
Holding a healthy Davis out would give him grounds to file a grievance against the team, something no team wants to deal with.
It appears that Davis will be finishing this season out in a Pelicans uniform. Once the offseason comes around, Davis will again be one of the biggest stories in the NBA as people try to speculate where he will play next season.