Chaos A.D.: Disorder Unleashed

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Published: February 2, 2019

Chaos A.D.
Disorder Unleashed

— Sepultura, Refuse/Resist

Chaos is a terrifying and necessary thing. It creates and destroys. It gives and takes. It’s the constant change in the world that masquerades as order and structure.

Anthony Davis has been the organizing principle of the New Orleans Pelicans from when he joined the team until very recently. Since he has demanded a trade from the team with more than one season left on his contract, not including his player option and forgetting any extension options, this is no longer the case.

Chaos reigns now. Hell is unleashed. It’s pandemonium around the NBA.

Order will emerge, without question. The question is, “Which order will emerge?” This series will lay out what the New Orleans Pelicans need to do to emerge from this on the most solid footing they can.

This first article fittingly deals with the first step.

Into the Void

The absolute first step for the Pelicans is to completely remove Davis from its day-to-day business. This is clear leadership in the face of the kind of fundamentally dishonorable behavior that has been tied to Davis.

No:

  • Team activities or contact of any kind, especially games
  • Marketing of any kind
  • Media, including questions about him

He needs to be a total non-factor on this team. Make it as if he’s already been traded. Keep him away from the locker room, and keep him out of any spotlight, off any platform. In short, he needs to be on his couch.

Yes:

  • Charity and Community Work
  • Searching for the trade

The exceptions to this are actually moving him and any community work. Players that leave team still maintain their work in those areas they left. This should be no different, and that stuff is bigger than business or basketball.

Benefits

The primary reason to banish Davis is to set the tone about the organization, which has, for a number of reasons, been subjected to many fair and unfair criticisms since it took over. This has only increased in recent years despite many accomplishments and improvements.

This situation, which has placed a number of eyes on them, is as much an opportunity to send messages as it is to transform the team and organization.

Banishing Davis is not about him wanting to play for New Orleans or feeling like it’s time to move on. Davis or his representation could have said something like this, and it would have been a different story: “I don’t plan on signing that extension this summer or picking up that player option. I’m going to look elsewhere when the time comes. I understand you may benefit more from trading me before then, and if that is what you want to do, I understand. I hope there’s no hard feelings, it’s just time.” That’s not what happened. If it was, I have zero problems.

What happened is Davis deciding

  • He doesn’t need to honor his contract
  • His teammates he leads are not what he needs for his legacy
  • He will not be straightforward from this point onward

This is, as I said, dishonorable. Add the tampering and selfish and self-serving shenanigans, at our expense, associated with this attention-seeking behavior to better help him demonstrate his worth to companies with whom he may strike an endorsement deal, and it’s simply indefensible. He’s gone from hero to villain, from star to asset, from teammate to contract once he decided none of this is enough to convince him to honor a contract or at least be willing to do so.

Let’s walk through the costs and benefits before a final justification.

  • Benefits
    • Sets a tone of strong leadership
    • Will resonate locally, galvanizing the community
    • Removes distractions from the team
    • Players who remain on the team get more playing time, practice time, and coaching attention
    • Davis is more likely to remain healthy when removed from team activities
  • Costs
    • Some players and agents may over-react to this, fearing to sign in New Orleans in case this happened to them
    • The NBA or NBPA may try to get involved
  • Notes
    • Davis being benched for so long hurts his career totals
    • Davis missing so many games may increase the mythology about him
    • They will almost certainly lose more games if Davis misses games in which he could play

The powers that be on Airline have to know completely banishing Davis is the right move from both basketball and business perspectives. Davis and his camp simply can not be trusted in deed or action. Plus, they have just insulted a number of people, intentional or not. Players have rights, but Davis has crossed the line. If telling him not to report to anything team-related violates his rights, find that out after.

Such a move will resonate with locals who see their city in much the same way: New Orleans is not for everyone, just give it a fair shake. If you start turning your nose up and running your mouth, well, you’re going to get an earful and a cold shoulder, and maybe more. Locals will be thrilled if the story is told correctly, and that will be great for business. I’m not too worried about downstream effects with the players, agents, NBA, or NBPA. Such people are well-aware of the story and in great detail, and any legal action will take time to play out.

Make the move, and take your first step as a true leader in the NBA.

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