It’s time to end the Anthony Davis charade now that he’s turned into a Pelican brief
|Toronto Star 28 Feb 2019 at 18:46|
The farcical Anthony Davis situation has become even more farcical, with Davis playing just a few minutes a night for the New Orleans Pelicans, none in the fourth quarter.
All the parties — Davis, his agents, the Pelicans and the NBA — are equally to blame for the ugliness, and the only thing to do now is say goodbye. Send Davis home until New Orleans can trade him in June, and then hope the franchise and the league can somehow wipe the stench off this stink bomb of a joke.
Disgruntled Pelicans centre Anthony Davis hasn’t played more than 21 minutes in any of his last five games. (Andrew D. Bernstein / GETTY IMAGES)
In case you haven’t been paying attention:
So send him home, go with the “honesty is the best policy” explanation that he doesn’t want to be there and that the team has no reason to play him. Sure, it’s bad optics but it is the only truly workable solution.
The few-minutes-a-game plan is a slap in the face to the game and his teammates. The all-star centre might have had an impact on a last-second, three-point loss to the Lakers on Wednesday had he not been nailed to the bench for the entire fourth quarter. And the fact the Pelicans knew before the game what shifts Davis would play — and that none would be in the fourth quarter no matter how close or one-sided the game would be at that point –— suggest the Pelicans have no desire to have their best player affect end-of-game situations.
Mind you, the relative few fans who show up in New Orleans — the Pelicans are in the bottom quarter of the league in average attendance — aren’t crying out to see Davis. They’ve been booing him every time he’s introduced. His absence for the rest of the season would give them a chance to appreciate what’s there and to think about what’s coming rather than focus on a guy who is simply going through the motions.
And Davis? He brought this on himself. If he didn’t think about the consequences of having his agents go public with his trade demand, then he’s either gullible or not as bright as you’d think. He says he wants to play, but it’s obvious he doesn’t want to play for the team that employs him. Maybe he doesn’t get to have his way in this ugly affair.
The Pelicans screwed this up by starting the franchise down the path that led to Davis’s trade. Davis screwed it up by overplaying his hand and letting his agents make public what could and should have been worked out in private. And the league screwed it up by coming up with a rather half-baked solution that was destined to fail.
This goofy situation has gone on long enough. It’s a charade. It should end.
Around the league
For the love of the game: Amir Johnson, still one of the most beloved ex-Raptors, went to great lengths to prove how much he still enjoys playing the game.
The 14-year veteran, reduced to a third string role with the Philadelphia 76ers, volunteered to play for the team’s G League affiliate — the Delaware Blue Coats — just to stay fresh.
Johnson drove from Philadelphia to Wilmington for a game last week, wore the only jersey the team had, No. 99, and played 27 minutes with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“You’ve got to remember what you do it for,” Johnson said. “You do it for certain things as you grow in the sport, but as a kid you just play it for the love of the sport. Sometimes you’ve just got to get back to that.”
Still breaking out: Brooklyn’s Joe Harris made a name for himself with some casual NBA fans by winning the three-point shooting contest during all-star weekend, upsetting a group that included Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
Harris has kept on making shots.
In three games since the break, he is 10-for-15 from three-point range, including a 5-for-6 night in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
On a roll: Everyone in the Raptors organization had nothing but best wishes for Jonas Valanciunas when the veteran centre was shipped to Memphis in a blockbuster deadline-day deal. Valanciunas hasn’t let them down.
In five games with the Grizzlies, including two starts, Valanciunas is shooting 40-for-71 (56.3 per cent) from the floor and has grabbed 48 rebounds (9.6 per game). He’s playing 25 minutes a game, up more than six minutes from what he was averaging in Toronto this season.
Paying tribute: Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks hasn’t officially said this will be his last NBA season — he hinted this week that he might like to play one more season — but the tributes continue to roll in regardless.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers paid Nowitzki the most public one imaginable, calling a timeout in a game this week in the final 10 seconds, getting on the public address system and urging Clippers fans to give Nowitzki a standing ovation.
“At first, I was like, ‘Why is Doc calling a timeout?’ ” Nowitzki told reporters. “Then he grabbed the mic. I didn’t really understand much, but that was really humbling. That was an emotional moment.”
A solid percentage: If this can be known as the golden age of Canadian basketball because the number of players from the country that are in NBA, what in the world can this time be called in Latvia.
The New Orleans Pelicans are poised to sign 30-year-old Dairis Bertans, the older brother of Spurs forward Davis. He will be the fifth Latvian in the NBA this season when the deal is finalized.
Given the population of the entire country is just 1.9 million, that’s an astonishing per capita representation.