It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Anthony Davis after requesting a trade from the Pelicans. The NBA hit him with a tampering fine after issuing that request, and despite rampant speculation about where he might end up by Thursday’s deadline, it appears he’ll be staying put at least until the summer.
The Pelicans organization refused to acquiesce to the Lakers’ trade proposals, which reportedly included just about all of their young stars, plus a bevy of future draft picks. With Davis under contract for another year and a half, they simply opted to stand pat until the offseason when more teams have greater flexibility to entice them with what they believe will be better offers.
In the aftermath, the team announced that Davis would return to action rather than sit out until summer, in large part because the league threatened enormous fines if they tried to bench a healthy Davis for the remainder of the season. He made his much-anticipated return on Friday night in a home game against the Timberwolves, and quickly became apparent the home crowd isn’t happy with their heretofore franchise star following his request to be moved elsewhere.
But the sentiment was clearly ambivalent among the home crowd as he was both booed and cheered the first time he touched the ball and upon scoring his first basket of the night.
All of this prompted ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who was calling the game on Friday night, to sound off on all sorts of topics surrounding this ordeal, at one point taking aim at both the Pelicans fans and beat writers, then embarking on a lengthy diatribe against the league for strong-arming New Orleans into playing Davis against their wishes and best interests in the second half of the season.
The outspoken Van Gundy has never been shy about his opinions, and he clearly has some strong feelings about how things have panned out in New Orleans in recent days. Davis, meanwhile, has been quietly putting in work, who had 32 points and eight boards midway through the third quarter.