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NBA investigating Anthony Davis trade request

Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the Pelicans, but that doesn't mean they need to make a blockbuster deal right away.

Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, told the Pelicans his client wouldn’t sign a contract extension with New Orleans next summer and wants to be traded.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

The NBA punishes players for public trade requests – sometimes. Markieff Morris got fined in 2015 for expressing a desire to be traded from the Suns. In 2009, Nate Robinson got fined for his agent making a trade demand, the league ruling a player is responsible for his agent’s public comments.

But J.R. Smith didn’t get fined for saying he wanted the Cavaliers to trade him earlier this season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that decision was based on Cleveland’s feedback.

On other hand, the Pelicans said, “We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.” Maybe that’s just about the Lakers interfering, but New Orleans might press the league to punish Davis, too.

I have no idea what the NBA will do. But the league shouldn’t fine Davis.

He doesn’t plan to sign a contract extension. He wants to be traded. These are facts. He shouldn’t be punished for stating them publicly. In fact, his forthrightness should be applauded.

This is why most trade requests are leaked through anonymous sources. If Paul got anonymity then made the same statements, he and Davis would have plausible deniability the information didn’t come from them. The league would never investigate the source.

But because they were open and honest about their intentions, they might get punished? That’s not right.

There are other rules to punish players who fail to provide playing services. Davis hasn’t done that. He has merely informed everyone what he’s thinking. When he gets healthy, if New Orleans hasn’t traded him, he’ll presumably play. If he refuses, the league should take action then.

But for merely saying how he feels? That shouldn’t be viewed as a punishable offense.

The NBA’s history says it might be, though.