Clock is ticking as Pelicans’ brass plan for future
Your New Orleans Pelicans have a lot of offseason questions.
Can a 30-win team suddenly get healthy and contend in the Western Conference? Would a healthy squad have made the 2016 playoffs?
And, the biggest question moving forward, especially if you are the Pelicans’ sales and marketing staff is, how do we sell tickets?
Selling tickets could be in direct contradiction to what the Pelicans should do now. And, that’s get worse before they get better.
What the Pelicans need is talented, cheaper labor. But, that building process takes time, and time is clearly something that head coach Alvin Gentry and general manager Dell Demps do not have.
Two media outlets reported last week that Demps, the team’s general manager since the summer of 2010, would return. A news conference with Demps was scheduled for April 25, but was canceled.
In his post-season media briefing, Gentry made it clear that the 2015-16 season was an outlier.
“If you were a college student, you would have to give it an incomplete,” said Gentry.
As the Pelicans head to the offseason, a keen observer is one Anthony Davis. In 2016-17, Davis enters the first year of a four-year contract with a player option for a fifth. Davis, who signed his contract extension the minute he was allowed to, at the time tweeted, “#6 more years.”
But, he also looks around the NBA and sees Chris Paul celebrating his 30th birthday in May and still without a championship. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, a prodigy not long ago, turns 28 in September.
The clock for an NBA superstar ticks quickly. As for Demps, he went for the quick fix. He matched an offer sheet for Eric Gordon by the Phoenix Suns.
He traded two No. 1 picks to Philadelphia for guard Jrue Holiday. And, he dealt a first-round pick to Houston for center Omer Asik. Asik, who will earn just under $10 million next season, averaged 4.0 points and 6.1 rebounds.
The Pelicans could have gone young and rebuilt their roster. But, several years ago, I asked an NBA general manager why he signed several high-priced free agents one summer in an effort to win now.
His reply: “Sometimes, when you try and rebuild through the lottery, you can get stuck there, and never get out.”
And, unlike the parity in the NFL, competing and winning championships in the NBA, is far more difficult. Three teams – the Lakers, Spurs and
Heat – own 12 of the last 16 NBA titles.
The last eight Super Bowl titles have been won by a different team.
The Pelicans have a challenging summer ahead – as their franchise player observes.