Anthony Davis Trade Rumors: Will New Orleans Shut down All-Star This Season?

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Smoothie King Center on January 23 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Anthony Davis could have to sit out the remainder of the season if the New Orleans Pelicans don't trade him over the next week.

The five-time All-Star surprised the NBA world on Monday when he demanded to be traded away from the franchise that selected him with the number one overall pick in the 2012 draft.

However, with the Pelicans have indicated they won't be rushed into trading Davis and with the trade deadline set for February 7, the suggestion New Orleans could shut down their star man has begun to emerge.

According to sources quoted by Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Pelicans are considering bringing the curtain down on Davis' season if they can't move him before next Thursday.

It has not been definitively decided that Anthony Davis has played his last game for the Pelicans, according to one source close to the situation. But the source said it is a scenario under consideration in the event New Orleans does not move Davis before next Thursday's deadline

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019

The former Kentucky student is nearing return after recovering from an injured finger and is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebound and 4.4 assists per game this season.

Leaving Davis out for the remaining three months of the season even once he's back to full fitness would be a drastic move from New Orleans. The Pelicans are behind the Los Angeles Clippers, who currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference but while reaching the postseason appears unlikely, New Orleans could have trouble tanking.

Even if they were to shut Davis down, the Pelicans wouldn't be the worst team in the NBA and would struggle to bottom out to the degree required to secure a high draft pick.

They could, of course, trade away some of their better players to ensure they can plunge down the rankings, but with just a week left before the trade deadline that seems unlikely.

Davis' decision to request a trade alerted a number of NBA teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks all thought to be interested in signing the 25-year-old.

However, setting up a trade with New Orleans might be extremely complicated before the trade deadline, particularly as the Pelicans seem intent on negotiating Davis' exit on their terms.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Pelicans' general manager Dell Demps was "not picking up his phone" as other teams looked to get in touch with him.

That came a day after Adrian Wojnarowski reported that New Orleans was unlikely to sanction a trade for Davis before February 7, unless it received an "overwhelming" offer for the three-time All-NBA First Team member.

Davis future is further complicated by the fact the Lakers, who seem to be his preferred destination, don't have as many assets as the Celtics to sacrifice in a trade.

The Celtics could put together a more appealing package but, crucially, cannot trade for Davis until July 1. Under NBA rules Davis's and Kyrie Irving's contracts won't be allowed together on the roster under the designated rookie exception.

The rule allows players coming off their rookie-scale deals to make up to 30 percent of the salary cap, rather than 25 percent.

Furthermore, Irving has reportedly expressed reluctance at re-signing with Boston in the summer, which could further undermine Boston's chances of landing Davis.