The NBA told the New Orleans Pelicans that if they did sit a healthy Anthony Davis, the team could be subject to a $100,000 fine for every game Davis didn’t play, league sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on Friday.
Under rules enacted for last season designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, commissioner Adam Silver can fine teams in violation. Teams can’t sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000. NBA owners passed the rule in September 2017.
The Pelicans have four nationally televised games of 27 games overall remaining, starting Friday night against Minnesota (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), in which Davis will return.
Davis isn’t expected to play in back-to-backs going forward, and the plan is for him to sit out Saturday’s game at Memphis.
The Pelicans said Thursday night it would allow Davis back in the lineup for the rest of the season.
“A number of factors contributed to this decision,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said in a statement. “Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play, and he 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.”
Davis missed nine games with a finger injury, but was cleared to practice earlier this week. Because Davis had requested a trade last week and informed the organization that he would leave in free agency in 2020, there had been consideration of sitting Davis and preserving his health as a trade asset, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans,” Demps said. “We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.