“If you’re looking along the lines that it has any significance that we’re playing the Lakers, no, it has nothing to do with it,” Gentry said before the game. “It would’ve happened if we were playing the [anyone], if we were playing the Baltimore Claws, we would sit him out that game, too. Go look that up, OK?”
All ABA references aside, Gentry — who first started coaching in the NBA as an assistant 30 years ago — rejected the premise that Saturday’s matchup with the Lakers, whose failed pursuit of Davis played out in the headlines for weeks leading up to the trade deadline, was anything special.
“Heck no,” he said. “I mean, it’s just a regular-season game. No one cares about it. It’s just one of 82. So I don’t see anything that’s going to be exciting about it other than the play on the floor. It’s just a regular-season game. I don’t know. To me, it’s very insignificant, anything that happens other than the play on the floor.”
Davis played 20 minutes in New Orleans’ 126-111 road loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. He had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists before sitting the entire fourth quarter.
Earlier in the week, Pelicans interim general manager Danny Ferry told reporters that both Davis and point guard Jrue Holiday would see their minutes reduced for the remainder of the season. He said Davis, when he does play, would be limited to the 20-25-minute range.
New Orleans considered shutting down Davis for the rest of the regular season after his trade request became public, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, but NBA rules prevented that. The Pelicans could be subject to fines of up to $100,000 per game for sitting Davis when he is completely healthy.
“It was a team decision,” Gentry said of the plan to rest Davis on Saturday. “We talked to him along the way. I think everything that’s happened, we’re being totally transparent. I think they’ll tell you this was a decision made by the team. We sit down, talk to him about it. But that’s the way it was made, a team decision, yeah.”
Gentry said Davis, 25, would not play both ends of the Pelicans’ back-to-back sets for the rest of the season.
When asked to explain the team’s decision to limit Davis’ court time the remainder of the season, he said, bluntly: “Because that’s what we’ve got to do as a franchise.”
Gentry also said he had no problem with LeBron James‘ involvement in the Davis saga, telling ESPN in December it would be “incredible” if the Lakers acquired the six-time All-Star.
“No. No. He was asked a question and he answered it,” Gentry said. “If you asked anybody in the league that, they would feel the same way. I think we’re making more out of that than what it is. The bottom line is all of that’s been out there in public. There’s no reason to go into it in any detail. He was asked a question and he answered it, and it would be the same if anybody else in the league, if they answered that question. So it’s simply just, the press asked him and he answered a question.”