Jeff Duncan: The Pelicans began conducting interviews for their vacant GM position at 9 a.m. this morning. Have confirmed the following candidates are on their list: Danny Ferry, David Griffin, Larry Harris, Trajan Langdon, Gersson Rosas, Tommy Sheppard.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans has been granted permission to interview several front office candidates for GM job, including Golden State’s Larry Harris, Brooklyn’s Trajan Langdon and Houston’s Gersson Rosas, league sources tell ESPN. There are more candidates expected to be in the process.
Have you heard anything about the Suns GM / President position? The names I’ve heard are McHale and Paxson. I’m very jealous of the names around the Pelicans’ search: David Griffin, Danny Ferry, and Trajan Langdon. Sam Amick: @Austin D. Admittedly, I haven't dived into the Suns situation (although I'd always recommend reading our Gina Mizell on that front). As for the Pels, they're using a high-end search firm that has everything to do with the names you're hearing. It's a smart, obvious way to go - and the Suns, as you may have heard, have struggled to make those sorts of moves for these past few years.
Mike Zarren’s name has surfaced as a potential target for the Pelicans and for Washington if the Wizards’ owner, Ted Leonsis, responds to his team’s unsightly (and, to be fair, injury-filled) 30-44 campaign with the management shake-up he has long resisted. Ernie Grunfeld was installed as Washington’s president of basketball operations in June 2003.
Fletcher Mackel: Today @PelicansNBA owner Gayle Benson said the franchise will soon look at 5-6 candidates for the GM job. Talking to multiple @NBA sources I trust, I think four of the people Gayle is referencing (under consideration) are: Danny Ferry. David Griffin. Trajan Langdon. Gersson Rosas.
Scott Kushner: Sources: The Pelicans process to hire a new general manager is expected to ramp up next week. A search firm has been parsing out candidates and is expected to provide ownership a list of 5-10 names next week. From there, they can conduct interviews, pick finalists.
Griffin, who won a title in Cleveland with LeBron James, was considering an offer to become Knicks GM two years ago before turning down the job. According to a Knicks source, Griffin lost interest in the job when Mills signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a free agent contract while the Knicks were negotiating with Griffin to run the team. Griffin, who was led to believe he’d have full autonomy, quickly learned that Mills wasn’t about to relinquish any power. The message was that they would share the duties of running the Knicks. No one knows if that experience would make Griffin reluctant to deal with the Knicks’ front office. Those who know Griffin say his personality is to simply look for the best deal and, if the Knicks offered the most attractive package, he would take it.
Zarren’s name should worry both the Knicks and Lakers greatly. He is the right-hand man to Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who is expected to pursue Davis this summer. Besides the fact that Boston has the assets to put together a deal that can blow away the competition, Ainge’s relationship with Zarren would give the Celtics a significant edge.
Ramona Shelburne: As @Adrian Wojnarowski noted, Pels owner was livid at the scene last night. According to a source, it was communicated to Demps that AD and Rich Paul left to get an MRI on his shoulder, but that message was not relayed to head coach Alvin Gentry. He found out from a reporter’s Q
Ramona Shelburne: Later that night, AD texted Gentry to explain that he’d left to get an MRI on the shoulder, according to a source.
After injuring his left shoulder late in the first half, sources say Davis left with Paul in order to undergo an MRI at the nearby Ochsner Medical Center (the injury, as reported by The Athletic on Thursday night, was deemed a muscle contusion and it remains unclear if he’ll play in the All-Star game). According to a source close to Davis, this decision to leave the game early had been relayed in real-time to Demps – but not from Demps to Gentry, whose postgame media scrum was the latest evidence of the frustration this Davis situation has caused.
Sam Amick: Also in the @TheAthletic piece: While Danny Ferry will have his chance to make his case as the interim, New Orleans will hire a search firm soon to vet high-level outside candidates. They want to do this the right way.
David Aldridge: Danny Ferry’s committed to be interim GM for the rest of the season in New Orleans, while everyone, including him and ownership, understands the final call on whether he becomes the full-time GM will happen after the season ends. Pels will still look at external candidates.
The New Orleans Pelicans announced that after discussions with Dell Demps this morning, the team and Demps have decided to mutually part ways. “We will immediately begin the process of restructuring our basketball operations department,” stated Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson. “This will include a comprehensive, but confidential, search aided by outside consultants to identify a new leader of our basketball operations, directly reporting to me.” Danny Ferry will assume the team’s interim general manager duties.
Scott Kushner: Interim Pels GM Danny Ferry: "My focus for the rest of the season is to provide leadership to our basketball operations group and give Alvin and our players the resources and support to positively impact the culture and foundation now and going forward."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Ferry has worked with the Pels in a part-time capacity as a consultant, but his most recent work as GM for the Atlanta Hawks was viewed league-wide as a clinic on how to reshape a roster and franchise without bottoming out into the lottery.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans consultant Danny Ferry -- former Hawks and Cavs GM -- is the likely choice for Pelicans interim GM, league sources tell ESPN. Details are still being finalized.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry, a consultant for the Pelicans, and assistant GM David Booth are candidates to become interim GM, league sources said. For now, coach Alvin Gentry and his staff are safe, sources said. The organization has been pleased how he's navigated the team under difficult circumstances this season, and he's expected to finish out the season, sources said.
New Orleans owner Gayle Benson has been angry over the Davis trade demand and her belief that "outside forces" are trying to push the franchise into decisions that don't make sense for them, league sources said. Her mandate has been to "take back control from outside forces," one league source told ESPN. Benson has been adamant with the organization to find a pathway to sustainable winning in one of the league's smallest markets, and plans to be aggressive in pursuing the best available candidates to oversee basketball operations, league sources said.
Benson owns the Pelicans and New Orleans Saints NFL team, and had Demps reporting to Saints GM Mickey Loomis. The Pelicans are eager to conduct a search that will attract a top basketball executive who'll take on a more prominent role in the franchise. Benson is promising to pursue a top-level GM to revitalize a franchise that's coming to a crossroads with the Davis trade. Among preliminary possible candidates, league sources tell ESPN: Former Cleveland GM David Griffin.
Scott Kushner: The Pelicans have known removing Demps was a move that was coming for several weeks, per a variety of sources . They initially hoped to do it at the end of the season.
Kyle Goon: Here’s what Lakers team president Magic Johnson said about whether the team was entering good faith negotiations. The question was not specifically phrased about New Orleans, but it was implied. “No. ... But at the end of the day, what happened happened.” pic.twitter.com/1Jahd32ZmF
Dave McMenamin: Magic Johnson on if the Lakers’ lack of success with New Orleans could effect his team’s approach moving forward: “That’s not going to change our plans this summer. It’s a great (free agency) class and we just want to get one of them.”
As the NBA trade deadline looms within a week, the Lakers' immediate pursuit of All-Star forward Anthony Davis is fraught with obstacles -- including the fact that New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has yet to return a call to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, league sources told ESPN. The sluggish response time is perhaps a message that New Orleans places some responsibility on the Lakers for Davis' trade request, or perhaps an indication to Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, that the franchise doesn't plan to easily acquiesce on a trade request to partner with LeBron James.
Demps is picking up his phone and returning calls -- just not from the Lakers, sources said. From Paul George to Leonard to Davis, the Lakers' front office is growing accustomed to icy receptions from teams enduring All-Star trade demands with a full year left on their contracts.
With Boston prohibited from trading for Davis this season, going to the Lakers presents Davis a chance to make something of this 2018-19 season. The Celtics and other suitors are curious as to whether the potential Lakers-or-bust stance softens once the deadline passes, sources said.
Charles L.: Hey Will, any sense on the teams sense of urgency in trying to improve the roster? Are they concerned with small moves to improve or are they looking at big fish? William Guillory: @Charles L. There is a major sense of urgency and I would say it's been that way for some time now. I just believe they are waiting as long as they possibly can to gain some wiggle room with a few of the bad teams so they can land a bigger fish than some think they can get. We saw Demps jump into the Jimmy Butler negotiations earlier this season, so that shows what type of player he wants to add. Like I said earlier, I doubt that first-round pick gets moved without some kind of significant return coming back to New Orleans.
How about Chris Paul, whose trade to the Lakers, Stern vetoed in 2011 during his time as de facto owner of the New Orleans franchise (then the Hornets, now the Pelicans)? "I didn't do a great job of explaining it at the time. There was a trade that [New Orleans GM] Dell Demps wanted us to approve and I said heck no, but he had told [Rockets GM] Daryl Morey and [then Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak he had authority to do it and he didn't. I said no. We just settled a lockout and you want me to approve a basketball trade?"
The reaction was swift but Stern held firm. "[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that.... And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis."
Scott Kushner: Gentry: “Mrs. Benson is going to make this thing a success. She’s 100 percent committed to doing everything we possibly can to making this a championship team. As long as that’s the case, I love being here." "My kids love being here. At @IsidoreNewman."
But a source who worked directly with Tom Benson during his purchase of the Pelicans said over the weekend that there was no doubt that Gayle Benson would keep both teams for the foreseeable future. “There may be some changes later, but nothing imminent or early,” the source said. And any notion of the Pelicans moving any time soon is tempered by the reality that the Pels, thanks to the league’s revenue sharing plan, don’t really have much financial incentive to sell.
The Pelicans’ lease at Smoothie King Center runs through 2024, though. And if Gayle Benson isn’t looking for a quick flip of the franchise, the likelihood of anything happening, at the very least, before then appears remote. And the NBA has gone to great lengths to ensure the stability and viability of a franchise in New Orleans since the then-Hornets moved there from Charlotte in 2002. The franchise’s history with the city and state has been one of deal making that has helped the franchise remain economically viable as it fights for audience share locally -- the Pelicans are currently 25th in the league in attendance, per ESPN.com, at 16,418 per game. The NFL’s Saints, which Benson also owned, are the clear top dog in town for fans’ affections, but they had a 35-year head start on the basketball team.
The New Orleans Pelicans previously announced plans to join the G League fold for the 2018–19 season last May. The team received proposals from 11 cities bidding to call the Pelicans their NBAGL home. That list was eventually reduced to one (Pensacola), after Shreveport’s City Council voted 6–0 against a $150 million dollar project to bring the team to their city. Now, Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps told the media in a radio interview last week that the team is putting their plans on hold.
Here is the complete quote from Demps and his radio interview: “Right now, we’ve put things on pause. We’re trying to, you know, find the right situation, and the right city for the team to play is essential. Currently right now, you know, we use the G League and we’ve been using other teams that have G League teams and right now we just put things on pause until we can find the right home for us. I think it’s us and two other teams that do not have a direct affiliate right now. But it will come in the future, it’s just we haven’t narrowed down the specific spot yet.”
Jim Eichenhofer: Anthony Davis on #Pelicans: "When you lose a guy like DeMarcus Cousins, it’s tough. But we have to keep going. The organization went out right away to do something about it, knowing the position we're in, (in seventh in West). We want to make sure we don’t drop, that we keep progressing"
Mike Triplett: The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion – and the team was frustrated that he wasn't recovering more quickly until the missed diagnosis was revealed. It was accurately reported that the team has had an issue with Breaux's string of nagging injuries in the past, but this case is different. And it seems unlikely at this point that the team will be as eager to trade or release Breaux. Justin Verrier: Suri was only with the Pelicans for a year-plus but was their head team physician and director of medical services. twitter.com/MikeTriplett/s…
Demps briefly addressed upcoming free agency in general terms, repeating statements from an April press conference about the need for the Pelicans to improve their shooting and playmaking. Led by teams like Golden State, floor spacing and versatility are quickly becoming more and more important in the modern NBA. “The one thing I’ve learned from all these shows you go on, you don’t want to tip your hand and give people (indications of your intentions),” Demps said of declining to go into specifics about free agency. “Sometimes I like to keep things close to the vest, but obviously shooting is going to be important for us, but also you want to get good basketball players who can make plays – I think that’s the way the game is going right now.”
Marc Stein: The Pelicans have officially hired Chris Finch and, per league sources, have offered a front-office position to former assistant Phil Weber
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.
In the larger sense, though, this might be a crucial week for Gentry’s tenure in New Orleans. A league source told Sporting News that though no definite decision has been made on the future of the tandem of Gentry and general manager Dell Demps with the Pelicans, failure to secure that playoff spot (which has been all but lost) or at least to show “significant progress with this roster as it stands” likely will move the Pelicans to oust Gentry. Demps is more likely to stay, but that’s not a certainty, either.
“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.
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.
June 14, 2021 | 9:43 am EDT Update
“They’re really loaded on him,” Rivers said. “We showed him on film, the flow pass the bounce pass are the two areas where we’re going to need him to be great.” Harris’ scoring is still his calling card and the area that you look at first to cite his playoff improvement: Through eight games, he’s averaging 23.6 points per game on 60 percent true shooting this postseason compared to 15.8 points per game on 46 percent true shooting in last season’s sweep against Boston in the bubble. But especially on those backup units, teams might force Harris to be a distributor. In Game 3, he looked up to the challenge.
Rivers joked on Sunday about how he doesn’t like “football players” in basketball, emphasizing that you can’t rest on defense in basketball. For Korkmaz, who gets on the floor because of his shooting, the defensive side is where he is forced to work harder. “Furk is doing all the little things that are required out of him,” Rivers said. “We’re not asking him to be Ben. But we’re asking him to be a better version of himself defensively. And I think he’s doing that.”
But with the Nuggets’ season on the line, and their two best players — Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — out (Jokic was ejected at the 3:52 mark of the third quarter due to a flagrant foul 2), Denver scored 43 points over roughly the final 16 minutes. The Suns suffered a bit of a defensive letdown. “We know when we’re not playing the type of defense that we need to be playing,” Devin Booker said after the game. “So we communicate that amongst each other, and we tell each other ‘It’s time to lock in.’ And that’s what we do. But we saw a different style of offense once Jokic went out. Them having JaVale (McGee) picking and rolling to the rim.
Both of them get it, that life is bigger despite being uber-competitive. Paul is known for his relentlessness on the court that borders on maniacal. But even when he was going through his shoulder issues, he kept making it clear people are going through worse and he’d be fine. “To be on this journey with him and to see it paying off is nice,” Paul said. “We’re a lot alike. We stay locked in. I don’t feel good until the buzzer sounds. Mont’s the same way. When the series is over, and the game is over, it’s nice to share those moments.”
Davis, a member of the Celtics’ 2008 championship-winning squad, had some thoughts on the injury. In an Instagram reply, Davis seemed to imply that it was a result of basketball karma after Irving stomped on Boston’s center court logo earlier in the playoffs. “Karma is real. Energy is real no matter what you guys say,” Davis said in another IG comment. “That logo means something negative or positive. Ky wished that on hisself (sic). Energy is real, always have respect for other no matter if its (sic) a logo are (sic) not.”
June 14, 2021 | 8:27 am EDT Update
A gold medal is one thing missing from his resume, but he said he has yet to make up his mind. He continues to look at the logistics of playing in Tokyo. He is curious to learn which other players are planning to go and to see how strong the team will be. “I’m literally 50-50,” he said of his decision. “I probably need to decide in the next two weeks.”