The two-week saga that began with star New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis requesting a trade to another team ended with him still a member of the Pelicans as the trade deadline passed. It had been assumed that Davis would simply return to the team and play the second half of the season with them, but now that appears less certain.
According to a tweet by New Orleans Advocate NBA reporter Scott Kushner, “there are people within the Pelicans who believe AD has played his last game for the franchise.” According to another report, by the Athletic’s Sam Amick, Davis wants to continue playing for New Orleans.
As far as the situation in which the Pelicans are incentivized to make sure Davis doesn’t get injured before it’s time to consider trading him again in the offseason, Amick says that the NBA could eventually get involved if the team decides to sit Davis for the rest of the season, assuming the player is healthy and wants to play.
Davis suffered a shoulder injury in a game he played for the Pelicans last week, prior to the trade deadline, and he and his agent Rich Paul left the arena, although he played in the All-Star Game Sunday night. Complicating matters is that the team is now under different management than during the trade negotiations.
Davis is eligible, this summer, to sign a “supermax” contract for over $200 million with whichever team he is on at the time; the trade frenzy earlier this month was ignited by Davis telling New Orleans that he would not sign such a contract with them. Whether or not he is traded, if Davis does not sign the supermax, he will be eligible for free agency in the summer of 2020.
The team that pushed hardest for a Davis trade was the Los Angeles Lakers, who were eager to pair Davis with current star LeBron James. But general manager Dell Demps rejected Los Angeles’ offers and Davis was not traded before the deadline.
Demps was fired by the Pelicans last week, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski citing Demps’ handling of the Davis negotiations as the main reason. Danny Ferry has been named interim GM of the team. Ownership, Wojnarowski added, was also “livid” that Davis left the arena following that minor injury Thursday night.
During All-Star Weekend, Davis was photographed, per a Twitter post by BSO, shaking hands with LeBron James, as both smiled. But Davis also said, during the weekend, that the Celtics are “on my list” despite reports before the deadline that Davis and his family were skeptical about a move to Boston.
The Celtics, who have a star-filled roster and plenty of draft capital, could submit a stronger offer for Davis than most other teams, while the Pelicans are expected to demand forward Jayson Tatum from Boston as part of any deal. Per a Hoops Hype report, Tatum is receptive to the idea of becoming the face of the New Orleans franchise.