Anthony Davis

USA Today

Bad Move By AD

It has turned into a dumpster fire.

February 15, 2019 - 9:29 am

The first half of the NBA season came to a close yesterday. A really weird close with New Orleans beating Oklahoma City 131-122.

I mean, on the surface, there’s nothing weird about one NBA team beating another. But this was a game where New Orleans lost Anthony Davis to a shoulder injury and where Russell Westbrook had a 44 point triple double. And the Pelicans still won. Absolutely nothing about that made sense and yet, given the NBA right now, it makes perfect sense.

How did OKC, which has been quietly building a case as a Western Conference darkhorse, lose by nine to the Pelicans? And how did they do it on a night where Russ had his 11th straight triple double and 44 points? Seriously. How does that work?

Not only did they lose, but they lost to a team that’s currently in the middle of a dumpster fire. Not my words, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry’s words. I’ll get to more on that in a second, but first, what the hell happened with Anthony Davis?

Right at the end of the first half, he went up to contest a shot from Nerlens Noel, appeared to injure his shoulder, and left the game.

That’s a nightmare scenario for the Pelicans. Which would have been the only reason to move him before the deadline. If I were Dell Demps, I would have handled it exactly the way he did with the Lakers: but the one caveat, the one risk in not moving him there and waiting for the summer, is that he might get hurt now and hurt his trade value.

And then it got weirder. Because then he allegedly left the arena.

Uhhh, that’s not good. Not the injury, apparently that wasn’t that bad. Reports this morning indicate that it’s a muscle contusion. But the fact that he changed and was seen leaving the arena in regular clothes while the game was still going is bad. Really, really bad.

Because as weird and ugly as things have been between Davis and the Pelicans, they are about to get weirder and uglier.

Leaving the game with an injury is one thing. Leaving the ARENA with an injury is another thing. I’m not an authority on the code, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that it’s kind of against the code to change out of your uniform and leave the arena, during a game. If you’re leaving the building with an injury, during the game, it’s on a stretcher, not on two feet. And not after changing your clothes. That is a terrible look. And a terrible decision.

I don’t know what went into Davis throwing on his regular clothes and leaving, while the game was still going, and maybe we’ll hear more about it, but that looks bad. And it’s a particularly bad look for a guy who’s always had a great reputation. What was the thinking behind leaving? Did he have a plane to catch to get to Charlotte for the All-Star Game? Was it to get an MRI?

Does that mean we are now about to get into a Kawhi v. Spurs situation where Davis and the team have a dispute about the severity of his injury and he ends up playing hide and seek from the team? You know, like Kawhi allegedly did when the Spurs came to visit him and check up on him. 

Are we a few days away from AD’s guys stuffing him into a trash can and wheeling him out of a building so that the Pelicans can’t get in touch with him?

Because the Kawhi situation was ugly and this sure feels like it’s teetering on the brink of it. 

I know this, Pelicans head Coach Alvin Gentry wasn’t happy about any of it after the game. And you can’t blame him.

His guys, the guys who were in uniform and playing in the game, just played a hell of a game and he’s got to answer questions about a guy who didn’t play in the second half and left the arena. Instead of talking about Julius Randle and his 33 points, 11-board double-double to go with 6 assists, or Jrue Holiday’s 32 points, 7 assists, and excellent defense on Paul George, he’s answering questions about Anthony Davis.

Of course Gentry would be pissed. It’s a credit to him and the guys who stayed that they didn’t quit and didn’t mail it in. 

But with Davis leaving the arena, that dumpster fire just had a trainwreck slam into it. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe him leaving the arena is the kind of thing that will be forgotten when he comes back from the All-Star break. Or maybe not. Because it sure feels like it won’t be. It sure feels like it won’t be forgotten.

And the worst part is, the trade deadline is over. There’s nothing that can be done for months. The Pelicans can’t trade him to anyone, even if they wanted to. They don’t want him to get hurt, so there’s incentive for them not to play him. Davis doesn’t appear to want to play for them, but the league wants him to play, because it’s a horrible look if he doesn’t. So this is going to drag on. And on. And on.

Oh, and you’ve got some Pelican fans rolling to the game wearing paper bags on their heads. Fantastic.  

Gentry is right. It has turned into a dumpster fire. And that fire is going to get bigger and hotter.

Nobody wants to be in this situation and yet none of them can get out of it. And it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

So remind me again, how did this Pelicans team beat that Thunder team? That was weird.

I get how awkward this is. The Pelicans probably don’t want him to play for fear that he might get hurt. And he doesn’t want to be there. And then he does get hurt. But you can’t just bounce from the arena when the game still going on. It’s a bad look. It’s a horrible look. It’s just wrong. Even if you give him him the benefit of the doubt and say there’s arena doesn’t have an MRI facility, you wait and leave with a team official. A.D. handled that really badly. And that’s a really bad look. We knew it was going to be a brutal four months. But it might be even worse than we thought.