Dell Demps is the Pelicans’ general manager, and Alvin Gentry coaches New Orleans.
How long will that last?
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.
New Orleans was reportedly likely to fire Gentry if he didn’t finish the season strong. Will an 8-3 stretch in March save him? Following that with a five-game losing streak until winning the season finale won’t help, even if Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins sat some of the skid.
Similarly, rumors have swirled around Demps for a while. It’s tougher to get a read on what Pelicans owner Tom Benson and senior vice president Mickey Loomis will do about him.
This is a pivotal time for the franchise. Cousins becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Lose him, and – with a first-round pick owed to the Kings – it gets even harder to build around Davis. Davis has professed nothing but love publicly for New Orleans, but a 2020 player option looms.
The Pelicans should ask themselves which general manager and coach would give them the best chance of retaining Cousins. Gentry and Demps being incumbents shouldn’t factor. The clearest path to keeping Cousins starts with winning, so trying to appease him aligns with serving the team’s overall health.