There has been a long running rumor that former Detroit Pistons executive Joe Dumars could eventually be brought in to oversee basketball operations for the Pelicans, but team sources continue to say there is an unwavering commitment to Demps internally. However, it was a really odd summer for Demps, and his status was considered up in the air for most of the offseason.
Demps, entering his seventh season as GM in New Orleans, spoke in more general terms about his own job status. "This is pro sports," he said. "There's always going to be speculation. I'm fortunate; I work for an organization that supports and believes in me. They understand we went through harsh circumstances last season, and they've been great. They've been great to my family, they've been great here. I've always felt welcome here. I want to be here, and I want to be here as long as they want me."
Danny Ferry is back to work after two years away from the NBA, and New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said he is happy to have his former San Antonio Spurs colleague on board. "For the last two years, after the incident that happened in Atlanta, he and I have been in constant contact," Demps said in his first media session since March 25. "I've actually been using him as a sounding board. Now I'm really just making it official right now, having him come aboard with us."
Sources tell ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Pelicans hired Ferry at the urging of general manager Dell Demps, who worked closely with Ferry in San Antonio before his move to New Orleans. Sources said Demps has turned to Ferry as a sounding board frequently over the past two years about various Pelicans moves, leading Demps to pitch New Orleans ownership on bringing Ferry into the organization.
Jeff Zillgitt: Adam Silver on Pelicans/Danny Ferry: "Danny Ferry has years of experience in the game, an excellent basketball mind and a terrific track record. I am confident he'll be a valuable contributor to the Pelicans organization!"
Scott Kushner: SOURCES: This is not a move to go above Dell Demps' head. This was Demps' decision. He wanted an advisor w/ exec experience. #Pelicans
Scott Kushner: SOURCES: The job was offered by Demps to Ferry, with approval of ownership. Entirely Demps' decision. They've been close for many years.
Scott Kushner: SOURCES: #Pelicans new advisor Danny Ferry will split his time between #NOLA and Atlanta. Won't be full-time in Pels offices.
Scott Kushner: SOURCES: Ferry and Demps were very close with the Spurs, have spoken often for past two years. Demps approached ownership, who approved idea
Jeff Zillgitt: Dell Demps and Danny Ferry have known each other for 12 years. Mutual respect there and Demps has someone to trust and lean on.
Marc J. Spears: The Pelicans have hired former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry in a special advisor role, sources told @TheUndefeated.
Brett Dawson: Source confirms @Marc J. Spears report that the Pelicans have hired Danny Ferry in a special adviser’s role.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say that the Pelicans are hiring Danny Ferry at the urging of GM Dell Demps, who worked closely with Ferry in San Antonio.
Scott Kushner: I know, some really illuminating stuff. But, considering those are Loomis' first public utterances of Dell's name in a while, it matters
Yet, Demps is conducting business as usual in getting the franchise prepared for the upcoming NBA Draft. Demps and several members of his basketball operations staff are in Chicago for the five-day NBA Draft combine, which is set to begin on Wednesday afternoon in Chicago. Although the combine workouts won't start until Thursday and Friday, Demps was expected to concentrate his efforts on interviewing a number of targeted prospects on Wednesday, sources say.
New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president Mickey Loomis declined to address Dell Demps' future with the franchise during his Saints pre-draft news conference on Wednesday. When asked if Demps will remain on as general manager, Loomis' response was, 'That's not for today. This is about the Saints.'
Since the Pelicans' ended with a disastrous 30-52 record, there has been speculation that Demps was on the hot seat and the franchise could move in a different direction. But a source said last week that Demps is "definitely coming back" for his seventh season. The Pelicans officials, however, have not said anything publicly regarding Demps' future.
Scott Kushner: Nothing has changed regarding Demps' current job status. He's running the Pels front office. Nearly everyone in the org expects him back
Scott Kushner: #Pelicans ownership/mgmt will obviously have final say, but those close to situation feel Demps will return. Press Conf on Mon.
Brett Dawson: Per a source, the Pelicans have NOT made a decision on the future of Dell Demps or any other part of basketball operations. (1/3)
Brett Dawson: As @Scott Kushner and I reported yesterday, been no indication that Demps will be fired. But a final decision has not been made. (3/3)
Brett Dawson: "Careful evaluation" of Pelicans operations still being made, as is the case after each season, a source said. (2/3)
There has been speculation since last week that Demps is on the hot seat and the franchise could move in a different direction. When a team official was asked on Wednesday if Demps was currently working on draft preparations his response was, "I don't know."
However, a source within the franchise last week denied a report from the Racine Journal that speculated former Detroit Pistons player and executive Joe Dumars could be hired by the Pelicans as their new president of basketball operations, replacing Demps. The report also speculated that Dumars would in turn hire current Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond to assume similar duties with the Pelicans.
Two of the more significant changes could involve Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. A year ago, there was considerable chatter Hammond would move on, only to see him receive a one-year extension. But several NBA sources contend Hammond will soon be relocating to another zip code — either being fired or leaving on his own volition. Talk among some league officials is Hammond will end up in perhaps a similar position with New Orleans. The Pelicans figure to be doing some serious housecleaning themselves and hire Louisiana native, former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy’’ and Hammond confidante Joe Dumars as the president of basketball operations.
September 21, 2021 | 3:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Free agent guard Quinn Cook is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Harrison Wind: Monte Morris says he hopes he’s the starting point guard on opening night, but that conversation with Malone about who Denver’s starter is with Jamal Murray out hasn’t happened yet. He said he wants to earn the job in training camp though and not just have it handed to him.
September 21, 2021 | 1:36 pm EDT Update
Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven’t brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don’t expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly.” The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They’re also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.