NBA threatened to fine Pelicans if they benched Anthony Davis
The New Orleans Pelicans announced in a statement on Thursday that they would play Anthony Davis despite the big man demanding a trade that did not happen.
After the trade deadline passed and Davis remained with the team, there was some thinking that New Orleans would not play Davis. The justification of that would be twofold: preventing Davis from getting injured, which could damage his trade value after the season; and ruining their draft position if they try to tank.
Though the Pelicans gave consideration to sitting Davis out for the rest of the season, they decided they would play him. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says threats from the league played a role in their decision. The NBA told New Orleans they would be subjected to a $100,000 fine per game that Davis was benched while healthy. That was a new rule implemented after the Spurs popularized the practice of benching star players for rest purposes during nationally televised games.
New Orleans might not have enjoyed being pushed around by Davis’ agent Rich Paul and may have been considering even more revenge than they already exacted. Ultimately, playing Davis when he’s available and healthy is best for the league. The draft picks will work out regardless.