New Orleans Pelicans: Dell Demps speaks to the media


With the New Orleans Pelicans thoroughly disappointing this season, Dell Demps was, ostensibly, on the hot seat. The embattled general manager was not available to the media immediately after the season concluded, and this only fueled speculation. Demps finally spoke to reporters on June 20.

The New Orleans Pelicans collapsed this season, and the man at the center of the crater was general manager Dell Demps, the architect of the current roster and staff. Rumors swirled during the season that Demps was likely leaving New Orleans in the offseason, and as the door shut on the campaign, the team fueled the fire by cancelling his postseason press conference.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and, to this day, Dell Demps is still the general manager for the New Orleans Pelicans. With every passing second, it becomes less likely the team parts ways with him. The recent hiring of Danny Ferry, supposedly at the urging of Demps, seems to solidify Demps’s position further.

On June 20, Demps finally hosted a postseason press conference, two months after the originally scheduled date. Addressing everything from the failure of the team to the poor showings of multiple key contributors, Demps was noticeably open and honest in his speech.

New Orleans Advocate writer Scott Kushner provided quotes from the press conference on Twitter.

There are a lot of interesting things to take away from these quotes. While it is troubling that Demps is still a believer in the failed plan, his perceived willingness to move on from some of the current core players should come as a relief to the fans of the New Orleans Pelicans. It has already been leaked that the team will not bring Eric Gordon back, and this quote further gives the notion of Ryan Anderson leaving more credibility.

The second quote clues outsiders in to the possibility that Demps’s position was never as precarious as it seemed. In truth, the team was devastated by injuries, and holding that against a general manager is mostly unfair. While the ownership structure was understanding this season, Dell Demps should probably not try his luck with back to back disappointing campaigns.

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Everyone knows Omer Asik had an awful season, but it is uncommon for general managers to speak with such frankness about their players. Self-awareness is always important, though, and recognizing and admitting mistakes can allow growth. The Pelicans may make an attempt to ensure Asik stays in shape in the coming season or look to trade him away. Regardless of the outcome, the team learned from their mistake.

In a similar situation, Tyreke Evans also struggled this season, and Demps made it clear that he believed it was a result of injuries. Many have questioned Evans’s fit within Alvin Gentry’s offense, but Demps seems to be convinced Evans can still be a key offensive piece. The slashing guard showed flashes of his ability this season, but, even when he played, he was clearly hampered by injuries. It will be interesting to see his production next season when he is, presumably, healthy.

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Dell Demps seems here to stay for the next season in New Orleans, and, if nothing else, his presence provides the team with an experienced, steady hand. With the draft and free agency period drawing near, Demps has the ability to right the ship in an effort to rebuild his reputation and, by extension, bring the Pelicans back to relevancy.