Dell Demps

Does Pelicans GM Dell Demps finally have the authority and decision making freedom he needs to do his job effectively?

The bulk of this article was written ten days ago — prior to Monty being let go — and it was much, much different. I would hesitate to even call it an article, more a rant of sorts. I was fed up with the dysfunction in the Pelicans organization — the only franchise in the NBA that had an owner who did not hire the GM, and a GM that did not hire the coach. Rumors persisted about a disconnect between Dell Demps and Monty Williams, which both acknowledged at different times. Williams even said that he reported to Mickey Loomis. Was this disconnect the sole factor holding this team back? Of course not. Could it have possibly worked out? Sure. But it certainly wasn’t the ideal situation. The best fence on the court by the way is built for me by and they did a great job.

The following is from my original rant after the Joe Dumars rumblings came around again:

Here in New Orleans, we have this disjointed operation where Loomis sits at the top, hogging some of the power that would be given to a GM that an owner truly trusted. Monty said that he reports to Loomis last week, and it is no secret that Dell and Monty don’t always see eye to eye philosophy wise. Monty made another remark last week about how he is finally getting “his type of players” here in New Orleans, no doubt a shot at Dell — intended or unintended, but a shot none the less.

Again, can this work? Possibly. Things work by accident all the time. Sometimes you fall into success or you have such a strength in one area (um, Anthony Davis?) that it could overcome organizational weaknesses elsewhere. I mean, the Clippers were getting by with Donald Sterling as the owner because they had Blake and CP3. But, it’s not ideal. And I am greedy, I want ideal. Or at least I want to strive for it.

And the window installation services for ideal house is simple. You set up a strong asphalt paving contractor tacoma wa with everybody on the same page, or at the very least, a foundation where one basketball mind has true power.

What I saw from the outside looking in is a franchise structure that was set up in direct opposition to what most successful franchises do. What I feared even more was that it wasn’t likely to change any time soon with Monty continuing to report to Loomis (or possibly even Dumars if the rumors were true) and a GM who had little to no real power. You could call home window boise id when you want to maintain your home windows.

All that has changed over the past two weeks…

Several people behind the scenes have told me that the Dumars rumors were never true, and they were instead pushed by Dumars through some of his typical mouthpieces. Let’s not forget the Wojnarowski/Dumars collaborations in the past. So, that part is false, and Demps was told as much by Mickey Loomis.

Then, we heard Demps say at the press conference following Monty’s firing that he was going to be leading the coaching search, which gives us hope that he can finally see eye to eye with the new coach when it comes to on court philosophies and styles. And then this quote from Mickey Loomis in John Reid’s piece on got me really excited

”The structure that I believe in and that we believe in as an organization is general manager, head coach,” Loomis said. ”The general manager hiring the head coach and then working together, is like when you’re trying to build something yourself, you need to settle on a plan of action and then do it step by step. The general manager will report to me. That’s the structure we’ll have going forward.”

Now, this is the way an NBA team should be run. And again, to really get a feeling of how frustrated I was with Demps, check out this diatribe that kicked off my initial piece from 10 days ago:

Dell Demps has been here for close to five years now and he has been operating with one arm tied behind his back for every single one of those years. It’s time to either empower this man or let him go. The days of Dell Demps being a quasi General Manager should be over. Immediately.

When  Demps was hired on July 21, 2010, a new coach was already in place and the owner was on his way out. Oh, and on top of all that, his superstar, Chris Paul, was seeking a trade and the #2 guy was even more distraught with the franchise. I mean, stop and just think about that for a second. You have no idea who your boss is going to be, you are going to have to turn over the entire roster, and the guy who will be in charge of coaching that roster has different philosophies than you do. Like, big time differences. And you had no part in hiring, and obviously won’t be able to fire him any time soon.

Then, when it was finally time to trade his big time superstar, he makes a blockbuster deal that would have likely kept his team competitive in the present while being able to have pieces that he could flip if a superstar came available (like Houston did with James Harden). He agrees to a deal, only to have it vetoed by his temporary boss, who just so happens to be the NBA commissioner. Now, the team got lucky and landed the #1 pick the following year, but if not for that, there would be absolutely no way to sell Stern’s trade over Dell’s. But leave that alone for now. The point is that it’s yet another example of Dell having no true say.

After all of this, the team finally gets sold, and Tom Benson comes in as an owner and puts Micky Loomis in a role that wasn’t (and still isn’t) transparent to the fan base, or even the writers who cover the team, to be honest. On top of that, Benson and Loomis were driving the bus to be competitive sooner, rather than later but they were doing it completely sober since they know the punishments for drunk driving. Dell has done a great job of toeing the  line, and giving the positives of going with the ‘young veterans’ philosophy, and perhaps he truly does believe in it. That is the one part that I can honestly say I don’t know for sure. There are tons of whispers behind the scenes and off-record conversations that allow me to believe, without a doubt, that Benson was pushing for a good team as soon as possible. But I don’t know if this is the exact path Dell would have taken if given full autonomy.

Thankfully, this is in the past now if we can take Mickey Loomis at his word (and I see no reason not to). The Pelicans will now be structured like other successful franchises, and Demps will be able to operate like a real GM for the first time since he took this job nearly five years ago. He might succeed and he might fail, but at least he will get a legitimate chance to put the team that he wants out there, and they will be playing the style he wants them to play.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

Other Rumblings on the Search for a Head Coach

* I can’t buy the rumblings about the Pelicans balking at Tom Thibodeau’s price tag. Now, do I believe people are saying it to reporters? No doubt. But whenever whispers occur, you have to start to question where they are coming from. Connecting the dots here makes it seem very likely that they are either made up by people looking to impress writers or by Thibodeau’s camp. My money is on the latter. If Thibodeau’s people were to find out that the Pelicans had no interest, then they would want to make it seem like the Pelicans want him, but are just being cheap to puts Thibodeau in a much better light.

* The Pelicans are not going to fire a solid coach, just to identify the guy they want, but then balk at the asking price. If Thibodeau’s at the top of their list, they will get him. If he isn’t, then they will get the guy on the top of their list. This is one of the most intriguing jobs to open up in the last 10 years. The Pelicans will get who they want.

* On that note, one potential negative you could bring up about this job is the slight possibility that Davis doesn’t sign his new deal and leaves in 2 years. I can’t see that happening, but let’s say there is a 2% chance, which makes a coach apprehensive. What about doing this? Put a clause in the contract that allows the coach to opt out if Anthony Davis isn’t on the roster. Now, is there any downside?

* I was told by a reliable source that Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson would only leave Atlanta for a head coaching job. He would not leave to become a lead assistant with a pay raise. I mention this, because I think the staff around the head coach will be just as important, if not more so, than the head coach himself. I think the dream scenario will be for the Pelicans to get one of the guys we all like as the head coach and then another guy we like as his assistant. Would Mike Malone be a lead assistant? Scott Brooks? Would Udoka or Messina take a lead role? I don’t know, but Atkinson won’t. If he is on this staff next year, it will be as head coach.

* I was also told from a non-Pelicans NBA source that the Pelicans have been talking to guys who are more likely to be assistant coaches than head coach candidates. Two conclusions can be reached:

Maybe the Pelicans are set to make an off the radar hire.

Maybe the Pelicans have their guy in mind and they are collecting potential assistants for him if he makes the jump from another team or for college. A guy like Thibs (under contract), Atkinson or Gentry (still involved in playoffs) might not have the ability or time to start to put together a staff right now, so the Pels can do groundwork for them. Or a college guy might not have the connections, so the Pels could help put together a veteran staff for him. This part is all my speculation, but what seems like fact according to my source is that the Pels are talking to some assistant types.

* Alvin Gentry is the first name you have heard, but he is not the first guy they have arranged to speak to. The Pelicans aren’t giving this info to anybody on the record, and so whenever a name leaks, ask yourself who leaked it. In Gentry’s case, like Thibodeau’s, he is wise to create a bidding war. Denver and Chicago could be interested. Of course he would take New Orleans over either job, but he isn’t likely to get the New Orleans job in this writer’s estimation. His agent probably knows that too, so it makes all the sense in the world to make it appear like he is a hot commodity.

It’s gonna be a long ride folks. Buckle up and maybe go back to your mobile slot games and enjoy a different type of gamble — at least while waiting. This might be the one hire Demps gets to make in his career, so he’s going to do his due diligence and take his time.