Pelicans Explain Why They Will Allow Anthony Davis to Play This Season

Last week, Anthony Davis requested to be traded from the Pelicans.

His agent, Rich Paul, let the franchise know that the superstar big man will not sign a supermax extension this summer.

Yet New Orleans elected not to strike a deal before Thursday's deadline, and will presumably wait until the summer to orchestrate a deal.

Does this mean the Warriors might be able to enter the sweepstakes? That's a conversation for another day.

For now, what will the Pelicans do with the six-time All-Star the rest of this season? On Thursday evening, the franchise issued the following statement:

Anthony Davis will play the remainder of the 2018-19 season for the New Orleans Pelicans. 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 that 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."

What does "soon" mean? Davis has missed the last nine games -- the first seven because of a finger injury and the last two because the Pelicans didn't want him to play until the deadline passed (he was medically cleared).

Will Davis be in uniform when New Orleans hosts Minnesota on Friday night? Will the fans at Smoothie King Center boo him incessantly? Does it make more sense to shut him down until after the All-Star break so everybody can catch their breath?

Did the NBA play a role in all of this? ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the answer to that question is, "Yes."

This makes perfect sense because it's not a good look for the league to have a Top 5 player effectively banished for two months.

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But what if Davis suffers a serious injury and the Pelicans lose any and all leverage? This is an extremely unique situation and could end very badly.

When the Warriors play in New Orleans on April 9, hopefully Davis registers 36 minutes and battles down low with Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins.

But that's two months away and a lot can change between then and now.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

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