Marc Stein: The Pelicans have officially hired Chris Fi…

Marc Stein: The Pelicans have officially hired Chris Finch and, per league sources, have offered a front-office position to former assistant Phil Weber

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The following is a statement from New Orleans Pelicans Owner Tom Benson and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Mickey Loomis: “After careful and thorough review of basketball operations, we have made the determination that the best course of action as we move forward into the 2017-18 season is to continue under the leadership of General Manager Dell Demps and Head Coach Alvin Gentry.”
“We will continue to evaluate important roles on both the administrative and coaching staffs which will be resolved at the appropriate time. Our organizational expectations and goals have not changed and all of our efforts are focused on putting together a playoff caliber roster entering training camp and ultimately into the season,” said Benson. “The end result as we move forward – playoffs and winning a championship for our fans.”
The New Orleans Pelicans power structure will remain in place entering the 2017-18 season. General manager Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry have both retained their posts, league sources informed The Advocate last week. The Pelicans declined to comment on the matter.
Gentry, Demps and various league sources have all said it’s a “day-to-day” situation, indicating there’s no pressure from the calendar to choose when the team will make a firm decision about whether to keep the Pelicans’ structure in place or move in a new direction for 2017-18.
So, the overarching question remains what Loomis, Benson and Pelicans’ upper management believe is the highest priority and if they see a path to success with the current power structure in place, even if that structure stays in place for the short term. There are those within the organization who have offered a positive stance for stability at this critical juncture. And at this point, there’s no telling when the decision will be released.
“I walk in here every day excited about my job,” Demps said on April 14. “I don’t ever feel the pressure or anything like that. “Right now, we’re in evaluation mode. We’re going to sit back and meet with Alvin. We’re going to sit back and go over the whole season. I think we’ve had a lot of challenges this year. But I do like the direction and path that we’re headed (on).”
But with just a 34-48 record to show for it, most of the discussion centered on which of the principals will be back for the third consecutive bid to reclaim the heights of 2014-15’s playoff run, starting with the two fielding the questions. “I walk in here every day excited about my job,” Demps said, echoing what he said after last season’s 30-52 campaign when faced with a similar line of questioning. “I don’t ever feel the pressure, or anything like that. “Right now, we’re in evaluation mode. We’re going to sit back and meet with Alvin. We’re going to sit back and go over the whole season. I think we’ve had a lot of challenges this year. But I do like the direction and path that we’re headed [on].”
“I walk in here every day excited about my job,” Demps said, echoing what he said after last season’s 30-52 campaign when faced with a similar line of questioning. “I don’t ever feel the pressure, or anything like that. Right now, we’re in evaluation mode. We’re going to sit back and meet with Alvin. We’re going to sit back and go over the whole season. I think we’ve had a lot of challenges this year. But I do like the direction and path that we’re headed [on].”
The Pelicans have long been rumored to be the next stop for former Piston’s executive Joe Dumars, who is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and has close ties to the ownership and leadership of the Pelicans and Saints organization. League sources said recently that Dumars has been active in the NBA front office circles, scouting players and reconnecting to the process.
“There’s some feeling in the front office the record being what it is, the writing is on the wall,” the source said. “Might as well make a change in April and start searching. But is that really fair? Can’t you give Dell an offseason to get some shooters, give Alvin some time to remake the offense? They’ve at least got to give this playoff spot a run and that might buy more time. That’s sort of where it stands.”
Of course, Demps and Gentry live in the real world. They have no political backing to tank unless Davis suffers a long-term injury in the next few weeks. Miss the playoffs, and both are on shaky ground. (Don't look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.)
Justin Verrier: Pelicans have hired Alex Kline (@therecruitscoop) as a basketball ops assistant. Kline made nat'l news in HS for his recruiting website.
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.
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: 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.
Brett Dawson: Source confirms @Marc J. Spears report that the Pelicans have hired Danny Ferry in a special adviser’s role.
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: #Pelicans ownership/mgmt will obviously have final say, but those close to situation feel Demps will return. Press Conf on Mon.
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)
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."
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.
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