First new Hornets owner Tom Benson locked up coach Monty Williams with a multi-year deal. Now the Hornets have locked up general manager Dell Demps to keep their core in place. Smart move, Mr. Benson.
The Hornets have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Demps, the team announced Friday. (We’re still trying to find out the terms of the deal, we’ll let you know when we do.)
“Dell has a bright future ahead as the GM of our team and Mr. Benson and I couldn’t be more impressed with the track this team is on and are excited about the future,” said Hornets Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis in a released statement. “He has helped shape this organization with the current team of young, talented players and we look forward to seeing the growth of the franchise during this exciting time for the franchise.”
He’s not universally loved among Hornets fans (what GM is?) but Demps has made the Hornets better. Bottom line. He’s smart, well respected around the league and with the team headed in the right direction you don’t break things up.
Demps lucked into the top pick and getting Anthony Davis, but everybody needs a little luck now and again. He’s made smart trades to bring in Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez to give the Hornets some veterans and consistent bigs to go around Davis. He drafted Austin Rivers, the book is still out on that rookie.
The area of controversy has been the max extension last summer for Eric Gordon. After coming to the Big Easy as part of the Chris Paul trade, Gordon played nine games last season due to a knee injury but still got the four-year, $58 million deal. Davis has angered New Orleans fans by having asked the Hornets not to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer this summer (they Hornets did anyway) and by not playing yet this year due to a knee issue. Even though Hornets doctors have suggested its not structural. Currently Gordon is back in Los Angeles trying to rehab his knee.
We’ll see how the Gordon situation plays out — he could be a key to this team going forward if he gets back on the court. But he has a lot of good will to build up in a community that feels he turned on them.
Despite all that, signing Gordon and not letting a potential key franchise piece walk away for nothing was the right move. Demps has made smart plays all the way around the block and the Hornets made the smart play by locking him up.
Well, this isn’t good.
Eric Gordon has had some soreness and swelling in his right knee — that would be the one he had surgery on last season that cost him most of the year — so the Hornets are going slow with him during training camp, the team announced. They used the words “limited participation.” Meaning he is sitting out the most strenuous drills.
“The team is taking a cautious approach with Eric to give him the best chance to be ready for the season,” General Manager Dell Demps said in a released statement.
This would be the same Eric Gordon who signed a four-year, $58 million max extension with the Hornets this past summer (technically the Hornets matched the Suns offer). So New Orleans should be cautious with him in meaningless preseason games.
But if Hornets fans get a little sweat on their forehead, I would understand that, too. Gordon and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis are the franchise anchors going forward and reports had been that Gordon was past his knee issues. It may turn out to be nothing, but…
Let’s just call it something to watch.
Like it matters. Short of Anthony Davis saying in his interview he thought Hurricane Katrina was really funny, New Orleans is going to use the No. 1 overall pick to take him.
Davis is meeting with the Hornets but is not working out for them, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.
Davis, an extraordinary 6-foot-11 prospect, is such a clear No. 1 choice in the June 28 draft, the franchise won’t go through the process of a workout with him, sources said. After flying into New Orleans on Monday, Davis was scheduled to spend the day with his only pre-draft visit to a franchise. Davis had dinner with Hornets coach Monty Williams in Chicago at the pre-draft camp, and will meet with an array of Hornets owners, executives and coaches on Tuesday at the team’s facility outside of New Orleans.
What is the upside for Davis if he works out? They can’t draft him any higher.
Davis was the anchor of the Kentucky team that just won the national title and his defense — along with growing offensive skills — make him as much of a lock as there can be in a draft. DraftExpress lists his low-end comparison, his “bust,” as Marcus Camby — who has had a quality career and provided real value to teams. The upper end is more in the Kevin Garnett range.
The more interesting choice for GM Dell Demps and the Hornets is what they do with the No. 10 pick. They will have Davis and a very good young player at the two guard in Eric Gordon, whoever is drafted at 10 has to fit with them.