Anthony Davis was on the sidelines in street clothes Tuesday night in Houston, appearing to chat with Pelicans coaches during a timeout with under a minute to go in a 121-116 victory over the Rockets. But whatever help the star power forward could have given coach Alvin Gentry, the team struggling to find any footing at 23-28 – five games out of the playoff picture – would benefit even more with him wearing his traditional jersey and undershirt instead of a turtleneck and sport coat.
But after his trade demands on Monday became public, people from Pelicans fans to fellow NBA players and GMs and especially members of the national media speculated on if Davis would play another game for New Orleans. He continues to ride the bench under the guise of a left index finger sprain, but when that heals in a matter of days, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps will be faced with the decision of putting Davis back on the floor – if he hasn’t been traded – or keep him in a holding pattern on the bench for the remainder of the season to preserve his health and trade value.
Gentry didn’t have all the answers when he spoke Wednesday evening before the team’s game against the visiting Denver Nuggets, but he asserted his hope that all healthy players on his beaten and bruised roster would play once they’re medically cleared – stretching his hopes beyond Davis to the rest of the team’s solid role players who have been discussed in trade rumors.
“That’s a hard thing to answer. I don’t know how to answer that. I assume he will, and that’s obviously something that will have to be discussed with what’s best for him and what’s best for our team,” Gentry said. “But I expect, if a guy is able to play, and he’s on the roster, we’re going to play him. That’s the way it is right now.”
Whether Davis will play again for the Pelicans is up for discussion, but the Kentucky product’s role in the locker room hasn’t diminished. since he told the team of his desires for a change of scenery.
Notes on a stack of golf scorecards which I will subsequently burn to keep warm …
“AD is a good kid, a good solid kid. Guys in the locker room like him, and he likes them,” Gentry said. “Nothing has changed from a coaching standpoint. It was within his right to do. It’s out there, but the one thing we can’t do as coaches and players and a team is we can’t let that be an excuse to us and let that affect anything we do.
“It’s not awkward at all, and I think if you ask the guys in the locker room, they’ll tell you the same thing. He’s the same guy. He asked to be traded, but he’s the same guy. His personality didn’t suddenly change.”