NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans are home twice this week and head coach Alvin Gentry says Anthony Davis will play both games.
So if you go to either game or watch on TV, you’ll be watching one of the most ridiculous scenes ever in American sports.
Anthony Davis said he will not sign another contract with the Pelicans.
The NBA has a salary structure that’s designed to help small market teams like New Orleans keep their stars. So the maximum contract, that only New Orleans can offer, is $239.5 million for five years.
Which ever team Davis is traded to, however, can sign an extension with him and by league rules can offer him $205 million over five years.
This difference, $34.5 million, is supposed to be enough to get a player to want to stay. But when the total is more than $200 million, does it really matter?
This NBA rule failed the Pelicans. And since that rule failed, the league is forcing another terrible rule on New Orleans: They say Davis has to play or they will fine the team to 'protect the integrity of the league.'
That new rule only hurts the team more, in three ways specifically.
1.) It increases Davis' chance of getting injured. If Davis tears an ACL or rips an Achilles, his trade value goes down.
2.) Winning doesn’t actually help the Pelicans and they have nothing to gain by playing him.
Right now, they’re tied for the eight-worst record in the NBA. If their current lineup can win, great. But if playing Davis artificially helps them win a few games, it will drop their draft position and hurt the franchise in the long-run.
3.) The biggest reason: Playing Davis hurts the development of the Pelicans’ younger players.
Three players in particular need to be playing as much as possible down the stretch: Cheick Diallo, Kenrich Williams and Frank Jackson.
The Pelicans need to figure out if these three can be legitimate rotational pieces in the future.
So, they need to play big minutes in the fourth quarter of every game here on out. But every minute Anthony Davis plays takes away from guys like these who need the developmental time.
For the NBA to play a guy who hurts the team in multiple ways is wrong and stupid.
Anthony Davis has filed for divorce from the Pelicans. The league says OK to the divorce, but only after 27 more dates.
One NBA rule didn’t work, so the league is forcing a second rule that forces sports fans in New Orleans to watch – or not watch – incredible weirdness, as the awkwardness continues with two home games this week, Tuesday and Thursday, against the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder.