With Free Agency and the 2016 NBA Draft looming just around the corner, the question that every sports fan in NOLA is asking at the moment is: Where is Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps?
Speculation at the moment ranges anywhere from the clubhouse to the dog house.
An even bigger question has emerged in recent days, which is: how much of a priority are the Pelicans within the Benson empire? The Pelicans’ rudderless ship has to pull into port soon, given that the NBA Draft is only a month and a half away. Now if we could only just find the captain.
After cancelling a previously scheduled press conference just days before the Saints NFL Draft weekend festivities, Pelicans Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis simply said this in reference to Demp’s status.
"“That’s not for today. This is about the Saints”."
Hmmmmmm — okay…..
Does the Pelicans upper brass believe as the Jack Nicholson character ‘Colonel Nathan R. Jessup’ in the 1990’s Academy Awaed-winning film A Few Good Men that perhaps “we can’t handle the truth?”
If anything, the Pelicans staff, players, and fans feel like Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee: “we want the truth”.
So — just what is the status of Demps within the Pelicans organization? Is he in or is he out?
Reports vary, but seriously: just how far into the off-season does it take for a professional organization to make its decision regarding its most important decision maker?
Are the Pelicans looking for another GM?
This current situation isn’t fair to the fans, Demps, or the Pelicans staff. And — if Demps is out, who ultimately makes that decision, is it Tom Benson and/or Mickey Loomis?
This is the month of May and the season is over and you’ve just missed the NBA Playoffs, but yet your GM is in “limbo?” How is that even possible?
Oct 23, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
For his part, Demps has been going through the draft process and Free Agent process like he’s still the guy in charge.
This next coming year is a critical year for Demps and the organization. Several fans are renouncing or taking a “wait and see approach” as far as purchasing Pelicans season tickets. Additionally, TV ratings and attendance took a noise dive this year as well.
The Pelicans roster as it’s currently configured consists of mismatched player parts that Dell bought in, and a coaching staff that’s one part Gentry and one part Demps hired coaches.
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As any NBA fan-base would expect, Pelicans fans want winning and championship results, along growth and continuity.
Fans spend their entertainment dollars in any way they see fit, but if the product looks as though it’s faltering and waning, that doesn’t instill confidence and doesn’t inspire fans to buy tickets, come to “The Blender”, or buy Pelicans gear (T-shirts, hats, jerseys, and other assorted memorabilia , etc.)
From the outside looking in, the main thing that appears to be wrong with the Pelicans besides the scheme not fitting the current players, is an evident blueprint for organizational success.
Where is the sound fundamental strategy for growth?
Obviously, the Pelicans had a new coaching staff last year, but the same players returned from the previous regime. Can anyone surmise just what was Demps’ thought process when he overpaid Omer Asik last off-season? CLEARLY, Asik doesn’t fit the system.
Feb 23, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik (3) secures a rebound over Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson (15) and guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Raptors 100-97. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Gentry’s system is “small ball”, movement, and space / pace. In the Western Conference, most teams are predominately up and down / fast break-type teams, meaning that Asik isn’t “fleet of foot” enough to run the floor with those teams. In half court, he is often caught out of position if a PG or SG gets past their defender.
Are they keep Asik around simply because they gave up a #1 draft pick to acquire him?
How can success be achieved if the vision and parameters haven’t been set forth, or player strengths run counter to the coach’s scheme?
Are the Pelicans “all in” or is Dell “on the way out”, that’s THE question of the 2016 off-season for New Orleans.
In late March, several reports surfaced of Demps undermining Coach Gentry. When the reports surfaced, Dell said this to reporters:
"“I just want to say, my confidence in Alvin has not wavered. The only regret that I have is that our team is not at full strength. And Alvin hasn’t had the opportunity to coach the team at full strength.”I’m thrilled with the system, I’m thrilled with everything that’s happened. And I think it’s irresponsible reporting for someone to come and say something like that. Because it’s totally untrue.”"
Asked whether if he has any concerns about his job security as a result of the struggles, Demps said:
“I feel great about my job. I come to work every day, and I feel great about it.”
The Pelicans front office seems to be in a state of flux, and one has to wonder just where the direction of the franchise is heading at the moment.
After all, Pelicans diet and prey on fish, and not their own front office. When will the Pelicans front office finally begin to realize that this plunge dive into divisive behavior and peculiar silence, lends itself to uncertainty???
What’s become even worse in all of this is that your team’s superstar / elite NBA Top 5 player in Anthony Davis, has now been put in a precarious position with the uncertainty.
Mar 20, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis sits on the bench during the first quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Smoothie King Center. It was announced prior to the game that Anthony Davis would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
How can he help you “recruit” potential Free Agents? Any potential Free Agents or their representation (player agents) are looking at this mess of a situation, and worry about the stability.
How can they talk their clients into coming to NOLA if these question linger?
The NBA Lottery and Draft are also on the horizon. Where is the sense of URGENCY???
The definition of dissension is: strong disagreement; a contention or quarrel; a state of discord. It’s a definition that as of this very moment in time, suits the Pelicans organization perfectly.
That is most unfortunate.
They say that “rebounding is about positioning and effort”. With that thought in mind, what type of position does this puts the players and staff in, and what type of effort is being put in to solidify the front office???
How many hard-working and dedicated Pelicans fans — and very knowledgeable ones at that — are going to continue putting up with that before they finally decide enough is enough?
We all deserve some answers, and the Pelicans need to be forthcoming in giving them — to spare themselves of the further embarrassment that they’ve brought upon themselves, and the great community that they represent.
The New Orleans Pelicans need to clean up their mess……..