Davis has been held out for New Orleans’ last two games despite recovering from a left index finger injury, which saw him sit out the previous seven games.
It had been mooted that the Pelicans could shut the six-time All-Star down until the end of the season to avoid him sustaining injury and damaging his trade value in the summer.
The 25-year-old – the Pelicans’ franchise player – submitted a request to leave the organisation and informed them he does not want to sign a new long-term contract extension.
The Los Angeles Lakers submitted several offers to try and secure a move before the trade deadline but none of their packages were deemed satisfactory by the Pelicans, who know that the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks could rival L.A. later in 2019 and thus held on to Davis.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on Twitter on Thursday that Davis plans to play every game for the rest of the season if he wasn’t going to be traded to the Lakers.
But there was doubt as to the role Davis would have given how much the Pelicans could stand to acquire in return for the superstar’s talents in the summer, particularly with New Orleans six games out of the playoff picture.
Yet Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has now released an official team statement on the All-NBA forward after meetings with head coach Alvin Gentry and Pelicans executives.
Demps said: “Anthony Davis will play the remainder of the 2018-19 season for the New Orleans Pelicans.
“A number of factors contributed to this decision. Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play and he gives our team the best opportunity to win games.
“Moreover, the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organisation with NBA policies.
“We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans.
“We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”
But the Lakers – who are three places ahead of the Pels in the Western Conference but 2.5 games back on the eighth-seeded LA Clippers themselves – are in real trouble after failing to reach an agreement to trade for Davis.
L.A. lost by 42 points to the Indiana Pacers, minus star Victor Oladipo, earlier this week with half of the team essentially available as they sought to land Davis.
Fox Sports’ analyst Colin Cowherd warned on FS1’s The Herd: “The biggest loser is going to be Luke Walton. Every team-mate knows now they are just a pawn in the bigger picture.
“I think you are going to have a very messy second half. You are going to have a borderline playoff team that is distracted.
“I think Luke Walton is in big, big trouble here. And third I don’t think it’s great for LeBron.
“He has got a deal with his team-mates who probably are not mature enough to handle being mentioned as trade pawns.
“They should be able to handle it but I don’t think they can.”