The New Orleans Pelicans were relatively quiet this offseason — they had to overpay to re-sign Jrue Holiday because they didn’t have much cap space, if he left they couldn’t replace him with near equal talent. Then they picked up Rajon Rondo and Ian Clark. Mostly, however, they stood pat.
“We want to win. We need as much talent and as many pieces as we can get,” Cousins said. “I’ve reached out to everybody. I mean, I don’t want to throw names out there, but some of the biggest names that are on the block right now I’ve reached out to. It’s just about getting better.
“We see where the NBA is going, we need as much help and as much talent as we can get just to match up with the (reigning champion Golden State Warriors)…We’re fully invested in this and we want to win.”
Coach Alvin Gentry praised Cousins’ John Calipari imitation.
“He’s done a phenomenal job this year of helping recruit free agents,” Gentry said. “He’s talked to Rondo, he’s talked to Ian Clark, he’s talked to all of those guys that we’ve been trying to sign and he’s been very active in that.”
Good on Boogie, he’s committed. That doesn’t change the fact the Pelicans had basically no cap space this summer to spend and get the shooting they need to go around their stars (Ian Clark helps in that regard, Rondo less so). They also don’t have the trade assets to get involved with the big names potentially available via that route.
New Orleans needs Cousins and Anthony Davis to mesh in the front court, and Rondo and Holiday to do the same in the backcourt, to make the playoffs. I see the Pelicans as one of a handful of teams — along with Denver, Portland, the LA Clippers, Memphis, Dallas, Utah — battling for the final three playoff slots in the West. Health will be the first thing that weeds out a couple of those teams, but after that it will come down to which teams can integrate their new players best. New Orleans has the talent, but a lot of work to do.