The NBA is denying its reported threat to fine New Orleans for benching Anthony Davis.
The Pelicans would have had to pay $100,000 per game had they elected to sit Davis, according to an ESPN report. The NBA, however, said Monday that it required the Pelicans to play their star due to “league rules governing competitive integrity".
"The Pelicans were advised that the team had not identified a proper basis” to hold Davis out of games, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told The New York Times.
The league office clarified later, stating that it had to intervene to stop New Orleans from "tanking" in order to improve its draft position. It also refuted the notion of impending fines, according to The Times.
Davis' agent, Rich Paul, informed the Pelicans that the star would not sign an extension with the team in January. But New Orleans elected to keep Davis past the trade deadline and planned to bench him for the remainder of the season in hopes of preserving his health and optimizing his trade value, according to the report.
Despite New Orleans' original plans, Davis will continue to play in 2018-19.
“A number of factors contributed to this decision," Pelicans GM Dell Demps said last week. "Ultimately Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play and gives our team the best opportunity to win games. Moreover the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organization with NBA. policies. We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans."
The Pelicans are 13th in the Western Conference and will face the Magic on Tuesday.