The New Orleans Pelicans are shutting down Anthony Davis for the rest of the season, and the ramifications are bigger than just missing the playoffs.
Davis has been battling injuries to his shoulder and left knee all season.
“We’re going to shut him down. He’s done for the year,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said. “It’s unfortunate, but he’s got an issue with his shoulder that he’s played with the whole season. It’s amazing when people talk about him being soft or whatever; they don’t understand that he’s played through a situation with his shoulder the entire season.
“He has an issue with his knee that we’re going to get corrected. I think for us, we have to look at things long term, and we have to look at what’s best for the future of our franchise. For that reason, he won’t play anymore this season.
“It’s something that needs to be done and needs time to heal,” Gentry said of the knee injury. “The same thing with his shoulder. I’m sure you can find out from the doctors or the trainers, but I don’t really want to get into it and try to explain all the aspects of it (from a medical expertise standpoint).”
The big question now surrounds Davis’ potential participation in the Olympics later this year, and more importantly a $23 million bonus he was in line to receive because of the “Rose” rule.
Davis signed the maximum five-year, $145 million extension last summer, and as part of the CBA Davis was eligible to a 30 percent max raise.
First round draft pick who completed all four years of his rookie scale contract, or a second round draft pick or an undrafted player who has four years of service, is eligible to receive a higher maximum salary if he meets certain criteria, called the “5th Year 30% Max” criteria.
Davis was required to meet the expectations of being named to the All-NBA First, Second or Third team at least twice, voted as a starter in the All-Star game at least twice, or being named the NBA Most Valuable Player at least once.
That was easy money for Davis, before injuries derailed the Pelicans' playoff chances, gutting the roster for games at a time.
Davis almost lost when he wasn’t voted as an All-Star starter this year, but most figured that a monster finish would ensure him of being named to one of the All-NBA teams.
With exactly nine frontcourt spots available to make one of the three teams, Davis will miss the final 14 games of the regular season while having to take an All-NBA spot from a list of players that include Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Draymond Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Boogie Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard and Gordon Hayward, among others.
Howard is the only guy on the list who could be left off without argument from anybody. Davis will finish the season with an average of 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and two blocks per game.