Anthony Davis didn't get moved before the trading deadline and he will return to the lineup when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. The Pelicans considered holding Davis out for the rest of the season but the NBA reportedly had deep concerns about a healthy star being held out of games.
Davis requested a trade late last month while being 1 1/2 seasons away from free agency and New Orleans turned down an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers before electing to stand pat. Davis (finger) has missed the past nine games but was cleared to practice earlier this week and he told the Pelicans that he wants to be on the court. "A number of factors contributed to this decision," New Orleans 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. We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans." Minnesota has lost three straight games and five of its last six after dropping a 122-112 decision against the host Orlando Magic on Thursday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS North (Minnesota), FS New Orleans LINE: Pelicans -5
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (25-29): The point guard problem worsened for Minnesota during Thursday's loss when Jerryd Bayless (right big toe) was injured and he could sit out against the Pelicans. Derrick Rose (foot) will likely sit out for the sixth time in seven games, Jeff Teague (foot) is expected to miss his ninth straight game and Tyus Jones (ankle) will be sidelined for the 11th consecutive contest. "We're searching. So, if you can play point guard ... we're searching," Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders told reporters of the situation after Thursday's game. "Sometimes that's just the way it goes. It's like nothing I've ever seen."
ABOUT THE PELICANS (24-31): Even though Davis wasn't moved, New Orleans did make two trades prior to the deadline, including the acquisition of forward Markieff Morris. The Pelicans sent forward Wesley Johnson to the Washington Wizards for Morris - who averages 11.5 points per game - and a second-round draft pick, and also shipped forward Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks for forward Stanley Johnson and center Jason Smith. New Orleans slumped badly without Davis and was in a stretch of six losses in seven games prior to Wednesday's 125-120 road win over the Chicago Bulls.
1. The Timberwolves are 2-1 against the Pelicans this season and have won six of the past seven meetings.
2. New Orleans PF Julius Randle (ankle) scored 31 points against the Bulls after missing the previous six games.
3. Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns recorded 27 points and 11 rebounds Thursday for his fourth straight double-double and 36th of the season.
PREDICTION: Pelicans 116, Timberwolves 112 Bet Now
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