Over the past few days the NBA free agency period has started to heat up with as an assortment of role players have agreed to terms on new contracts. Yet through it all Dell Demps and the Pelicans have been quiet, working in the background to make the Omer Asik trade work.
Of the players that have signed none really were realistic targets for the Pelicans. There was plenty of talk about guys like C.J. Miles, Danny Granger and Thabo Sefolosha by Pelicans fans but neither player was likely to leave money on the table to come play for a team that is looking to make the playoffs next season instead of competing for a title. Either way though, Demps hasn’t gotten crazy, hasn’t jumped into a bidding war just to add the small forward that the team seemingly needs. Instead the Pelicans have been tied to potential bargain buys like Troy Daniels and Jameer Nelson while the market for the players they need stabilizes and fits the point they can feel comfortable to get involved.
Thanks to that patience things look like they could be set up perfectly for New Orleans as we go forward into the bargain signings portion of the free agency period. The Pelicans never needed to add a “final piece” to the puzzle like teams that see themselves as title contenders next season, nor did they need a franchise changing piece like Lance Stephenson (how he changes things good or bad is still to be seen). Instead they need a veteran who can soak up a few minutes a game at the small forward spot and not mess things up or get in the way while the team figures out just how viable the core of Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and now Omer Asik is. This season isn’t the make or break one for the Pelicans, so trying to add a guy like Miles or Sefolosha as if it were that time would have been a disaster a few years down the road when the team is trying to add that piece. If they had overpaid for one of those guys, which they probably would have had to do to sign judging by the contracts they got, things could have been disastrous.
Instead now the team is going to get a still decent player to play those small forward minutes for a cheap, probably short contract and enter next offseason with a cap that is going up and a clearer idea of how well the core fits together and what exactly it needs to reach its potential. If Demps nails the signing this offseason by finding an undervalued guy left behind as the big contracts were agreed to early in the period, not only does he not help the team going forward he finds an asset that could be used to get even better as the title contention portion of Anthony Davis‘s career comes into focus.
So as boring as things have been so far this free agency period have faith in Dell Demps. As of now he is doing everything right.