The New Orleans Pelicans have a huge offseason coming up as they try to find a way to sort out the Anthony Davis situation, and they will not be asking general manager Dell Demps to help with that anymore.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that the Pelicans have decided to part ways with Demps.
New Orleans has parted ways with GM Dell Demps, league sources tell ESPN.
Organization is discussing internal candidates for interim GM job, including David Booth and Danny Ferry, sources tell ESPN. Pelicans planning to be aggressive in marketplace to hire a high-level basketball executive. https://t.co/qYfoc5wqSB
Davis publicly requested a trade prior to the deadline earlier this month, and the Pelicans ended up not fulfilling his request. It makes sense for them to wait until the offseason when the Boston Celtics can get in on the bidding, but perhaps they feel Demps has not done a great job of handling the situation.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and with a side of Dell Demps.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been working hard to try and acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans following Davis’ trade demand issued last week. All reports have indicated so far that the Pelicans are toying with the Lakers, first by telling them they don’t consider their trade offers to be serious, and then by not responding to their improved offers.
The result is that about half of the Lakers’ roster has been named in the trade talks — seemingly leaked by the Pelicans to the media — which undermines the Lakers by interrupting their team chemistry. How hard will the players play for the organization and for LeBron James if they know the team and James wanted to trade them for Davis? We saw the answer on Tuesday night.
Taking things one step further, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Wednesday that the Pelicans are intentionally sabotaging the Lakers as revenge for what they felt was tampering by trying to manipulate the Davis-to-Lakers deal.
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said "it's not just possible, it's what happened." pic.twitter.com/wki2hDPaEs
This sort of tampering and working behind-the-scenes with trade demands by a player 1.5 seasons away from free agency does not sit well with many fans, nor should it. It’s bad for the overall health of the league and makes it seem like certain teams have no shot at winning if their best players are forcing their way out so early. LeBron James complained about that on Instagram, but he’s missing the point.
The Pelicans should trade Davis when they’re ready and only for what they feel is the best deal for them rather than be pressured into pulling the trigger early because the Lakers want him. Their best offer may end up coming this summer from a team like Boston.
The New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday released a statement in defense of GM Dell Demps, who faced some criticism from former NBA commissioner David Stern.
SI published a feature by Chris Ballard on Wednesday that stemmed from a day Ballard spent with Stern in August. In the article, Stern explains why he wouldn’t approve the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade in 2011. In the process, Stern criticized Demps, who remains the Pelicans’ GM.
“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis,” Stern said.
The Pelicans didn’t like hearing Demps called “lousy” and released a statement.
“We are very disappointed to read the inappropriate and inaccurate comments from the former NBA Commissioner regarding the New Orleans Pelicans. Our organization has the utmost confidence in our General Manager, Dell Demps. He is part of our family, the NBA family. We are excited about the direction of our team, the 3-0 start of the season, building on the success of the 2017/18 playoffs. Finally, our organization is excited and proud to be part of the NBA with the progressive and innovative leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver,” the statement said.
Demps has been with the Pelicans since 2010. The team has made the playoffs just three times during his tenure. Their 48-34 season last year was the best under his watch.
The vetoed Chris Paul trade remains a sore subject for many. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak even admitted a few years later that he still was not over it.
“Sources tell me that [Demps] spent way too much of this year second-guessing his own hire as a head coach, often in very public ways within earshot of players, staff and even opponents,” Wojnarowski said.
Former coach Monty Williams led New Orleans to the playoffs last year, but Demps didn’t like him and gave him the axe, and now he’s paying the price for that.