Recent extensions show how the Pelicans are building

CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans celebrates with Larry Nance Jr. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans celebrates with Larry Nance Jr. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The difference between this offseason for the New Orleans Pelicans and last year’s can be summarized with one word: Stability.

Last offseason, the Pelicans fired their coach, had a huge amount of roster churn and found out Zion Williamson was injured, which bled into a horrible start to the regular season.

Things couldn’t be much different more than a year later, as the Pelicans finally have some stability, with head coach Willie Green and his staff coming back after a strong finish to last season, and the Pels returning nearly their entire roster, including Zion.

Stability and sustained success have mostly eluded the Pelicans over the years, but with the right combination of young players and veterans buying into what they are building, New Orleans might finally have the stability they have long craved.

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It started with Brandon Ingram inking a max deal, then carried to Zion, and now the Pelicans are locking in the key pieces around them.

New Orleans Pelicans: The CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. extensions

When CJ McCollum was traded to New Orleans, he bought in right away and immediately said that it was a place where he wanted to win and stay. The Pelicans agreed, and signed an extension with McCollum this offseason that was a smart move for both sides.

Larry Nance Jr. is another guy who immediately embraced the city and culture of New Orleans and made overtures that he’d like to stay long term. He was the next to get rewarded, as it was recently reported that he too signed an extension:

Larry Nance Jr. is the perfect kind of big to have around a group of stars, as he will do all of the dirty work, grab tough rebounds, provide some thunderous dunks and versatile defense. He’s also a high-character guy who is respected in the locker room and the community, so I expect him to be a fan favorite very soon for some of the things he does off the court.

The same can be said of McCollum, who is also a high character guy who is respected around the league as the president of the player’s union. The Pelicans are showing that they want to build stability around guys who want to be in New Orleans for the long term and won’t always be looking for the greener pastures on the coasts.

Character, culture and chemistry all matter in the NBA, and the Pels have shown that they are dedicated to building all three with this current roster.

The Pelicans have a core of talented players locked in, are changing the narrative about basketball in New Orleans and have a great chance for the sustained success that has been just out of reach.

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