The Pelicans are being especially careful with Anthony Davis.
Although Davis officially is listed as questionable for New Orleans’ game Wednesday against the Bulls, coach Alvin Gentry says that the team plans to sit the five-time All-Star center until after Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
“He is [available], but we’re not going to play him until after the trading deadline,” Gentry said (via ESPN.com). “I think everybody can understand that.”
Davis participated in Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the United Center in Chicago,chatting with teammates and various assistant coaches. But the Bulls game will mark his ninth straight missed since suffering a left index finger injury Jan. 18. The Pelicans have gone 2-6 in his absence.
New Orleans’ front office declined to play the six-time All-Star on Monday even though he was deemed healthy, according to an intitial report from Yahoo Sports, which cited unidentified league sources.
“Obviously, it’s on everyone’s mind,” Gentry said Wednesday. “But we just try to put it on the back burner and focus on the task at hand. I think everything kind of clears up [after Davis is traded], at least for a while. And you can go back to I guess whatever our new normal is going to be.
“It’s just part of it. It’s part of the business, and you just deal with it like you would anything else.”
Davis’ agent Rich Paul told ESPN last week he would not sign an extension with the Pelicans when his contract runs out in 2020 and he would prefer to be traded.
The Lakers have been actively trying to acquire Davis from the Pelicans, but according to a report from ESPN, New Orleans is almost looking to be “overcompensated” in a deal to trade him before the deadline.
A market for Davis gets bigger during the offseason as the Celtics cannot make a deal for Davis this season because the Pelicans’ All-Star and Boston guard Kyrie Irving both signed a rookie max contract and teams are not allowed to have two of those players on a roster at once.
The Pelicans are 23-31 and 2-8 in their last 10 games.