NBA claims it didn't threaten Pelicans with fines for sitting Davis

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After a report from ESPN that the New Orleans Pelicans would be slammed with a $100,000 fine per game if the team didn't play unhappy big man Anthony Davis, the NBA is now speaking out, calling the report bogus.

Brian Windhorst stated on Friday that the Pelicans had to have a plan in place to play Davis, or face the fine, a rule that was put in place in 2017.

The league referred the Pelicans to rules put in place in 2017 that restrict teams from resting healthy players. The Pelicans, league sources said, were told that they would be subject to a fine of $100,000 per every game if Davis were benched.

Davis was fined $50,000 last week for breaking league rules when Paul publicly made a trade demand, the largest fine permitted.

The NBA has responded to that report, saying basically a conversation never took place about hitting the team with a fine, sending a statement to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, said Monday that “the Pelicans were advised that the team had not identified a proper basis” to hold Davis out of games.

“League rules governing competitive integrity therefore require that he be permitted to play,” Bass said.

Bass also denied an ESPN report from last week that said the Pelicans were threatened by the league with per-game fines of $100,000 if they sat Davis when he wanted to play.

It seemed like the Pelicans were planning on sitting Davis, possibly for the final 28 games of the regular season, as they did not want to risk him getting hurt and therefore hurting his trade value this summer when they will move him elsewhere.

The Pelicans did have plenty of talks last week around the trade deadline with teams about moving Davis, but their asking price was high, and no team gave into what New Orleans at the end of the day wanted.

According to Stein, Davis’s agent, Rich Paul, went to NBA officials on his clients' behalf to clear him to play, but it wasn't enough to get him moved by Thursday's trade deadline.