Dell Demps has been on the hot seat for a few years now, just scraping by while making short-term moves that appeared more about keeping his job and winning games now over planning for long-term success around Anthony Davis.
This season that all seemed to catch up with him — Davis demanded a trade and the Pelicans are well out of the playoff chase in the West.
That has cost Demps his job after nine seasons, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
New Orleans has parted ways with GM Dell Demps, league sources tell ESPN.
Organization is discussing internal candidates for interim GM job, including David Booth and Danny Ferry, sources tell ESPN. Pelicans planning to be aggressive in marketplace to hire a high-level basketball executive. https://t.co/qYfoc5wqSB
Ownership was livid with an injured Anthony Davis leaving arena during Thursday night’s game, sources say. Gayle Benson is telling associates she wants an overhaul of Pelicans and a search for a GM to take command of Davis trade talks and the reshaping of team’s future.
Frustration with Davis leaving the building is more the last straw that cost Demps his job rather than the sole firable offense. Demps has been on thin ice for a while, what happened Thursday was just enough for New Orleans to pull the trigger now rather than wait until after the season. But the sense around the league is this was coming no matter what.
If Demps had traded Davis to the Lakers at the deadline he would have been fired anyway. Also, sources have told me that it wasn’t Demps’ call, that ownership and upper management (the people above Demps) did not want the Laker trade and he couldn’t have pulled the trigger on the deal even if he wanted to. Ownership and upper management didn’t want to feel “bullied” into a deal.
It was thought by many around the league that there would be a housecleaning in New Orleans after the season and that the new GM, whoever he or she is, would be the one making the call on the trade and the direction the team takes next. The question is, will coach Alvin Gentry be out, too?
Ownership and senior management have been pleased with coach Alvin Gentry and his staff and believe players are largely responding in what’s been a tumultuous stretch, sources tell ESPN.
Expect the Pelicans to move reasonably quickly on finding a replacement, whether it is internal or external. They want someone in place to have a strategy for the team heading into the draft, a strategy that includes what to do about a Davis trade.
Lakers’ Rajon Rondo throws dead ball into air, hits Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in head
After coaching the Wisconsin Herd (Bucks’ minor-league affiliate) to a loss to the Grand Rapids Drive (Pistons’ minor-league affiliate), Chad Buford – son of Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – had a normal one.
Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:
Early candidate for coaching rant of the year! Wisconsin Herd Head Coach Chase Buford after his team saw a 21-point lead disappear in the 4th quarter vs. Grand Rapids. And because he asked: @nbagleaguepic.twitter.com/cw5t1lMSKI
The officiating definitely went right for Grand Rapids. That was as unprofessional as an officiating performance. I hope you tweet this out and tag the league, because that was embarrassing. Matt Rafferty is a f—ing clown. That being said, we have to be so much better at the end of games. We can’t blow a 21-point lead with 12 minutes to go. However bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating the referees are, we have to be better at closing games. And so that’s the way I feel.
The contentious play occurred in the final 10 seconds. Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith was called for goaltending Trae Young‘s shot. The play was reviewed and ruled a clean block. However, officials determined the whistle was therefore inadvertent and blew while John Collins was in his shooting motion on a successful putback attempt. So, Collins’ basket counted.
The Mavericks are claiming officials misapplied the rules – a key distinction for a protest. A simple missed call won’t get it done.
Protests rarely succeed. This one probably won’t.
But I think Dallas has a chance. The whistle wasn’t inadvertent. It was intentional. It was for a wrong call. But it was intentional.
Even if the challenge is successful and the Mavericks get their desired jump ball in a re-do, they’d still be trailing by two in the final seconds. They’d still be underdogs.
On the other hand, odds still strongly favor Cuban getting fined… eventually.
The NBA plans to await commissioner Adam Silver’s ruling on a Dallas Mavericks game protest before leveling possible discipline on owner Mark Cuban for his behavior during and after the Mavericks’ loss to Atlanta on Saturday night.
Three Things to Know: It was a good day, Lakers get LeBron game-winner, sign Markieff Morris
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday during the NBA regular season we are here to help you break it all down. Here are three things you need to know from yesterday in the NBA.
1) It was a good day, Lakers get LeBron dagger, sign Markieff Morris.The ghost of drafts past and playoffs future haunted the Lakers on Sunday — all in the form of Jayson Tatum.
Three years ago, the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball No. 2, the Celtics took Jayson Tatum No. 3 — and Tatum has proven to be the better pick. On Sunday, taking over playmaking responsibilities with Kemba Walker out, Tatum dropped 41 on the Lakers, forced L.A. to adjust its defense and double him in the fourth. It was Tatum who pushed Boston to a lead in the third quarter. After the game, LeBron gave Tatum a shoutout on Instagram.
LeBron, however, had the final word (the day before the Kobe Bryant memorial in the same building, it was fitting). In what was one of the best games of the regular season — despite some questionable officiating that took the flow out of the game late — it was LeBron’s fade-away midranger over Jaylen Brown that was the game-winner.
LeBron Raymone James with the dagger in basketball’s greatest rivalry 🔥🔥🔥
If the Lakers had drafted Tatum, he likely would have been traded to New Orleans — just like Ball was — to bring Anthony Davis west. Tatum is an All-Star, but Davis was all-world on Sunday with 32 points and 13 rebounds, both team highs. The Lakers don’t win this, or much of anything else this season, without him.
Tatum’s big night was also a reminder the Lakers struggle to slow athletic wings — something that could be a real issue come the playoffs. Big wings — such as Kawhi Leonard and Ben Simmons (more point guard than wing, but same ball handling concept) — have had big nights against the Lakers. Look around the West and you can see where this could be a serious playoff issue.
Can Morris handle Leonard or Paul George or Bojan Bogdanovic? Probably not, but Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma can’t either. Morris is another player the Lakers can throw in that mix. If need be, the Lakers can close games with LeBron on that wing player down the stretch — he can have a defensive impact. And we know he knows how to close games.
2) Zion Williamson was too much for Golden State to handle. Every game, Zion Williamson gets a little bit better. Which is scary.
Over his last five game he has averaged 27.4 points on 63.1 percent shooting. He’s also averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds a game — and if he doesn’t get the rebound, he’ll just rip it away from the guy who did.
These are not empty-calorie points that Zion is getting, he could be leading them to the playoffs. The Pelicans are 4-1 in their last five games with a +9.9 net rating. They sit just 3.5 games back of the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the West, and the Grizzlies have the toughest remaining schedule in the West while the Pelicans have the easiest.
The Wizards are ninth in the East, and their loss clinched a playoff spot for the Bucks. Already. Just 56 games into the season — the 48-8 Bucks are 27.5 games up on the Wizards now. The Bucks can lose every game from here on out and they are in the playoffs.
Milwaukee is on pace to win 70 games, and their owner has hinted the team sees that as a goal. The Bucks also have title aspirations, and they may want to ask the Warriors if the push for winning 70+ games is worth it come the playoffs. That said, the Bucks have gotten Giannis Antetokounmpo rest because they are blowing teams out, so he doesn’t have to play late. Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.9 minutes a game and is 72nd in the league in total minutes played in the league this season. His workload has not been that brutal.
Mike Budenholzer just needs to be willing to up those minutes this postseason, up to 42 or more a night some games, to make sure they win. Budenholzer said last season that he didn’t think more minutes for the Greek Freak was the answer to the Bucks playoff struggles, if the Bucks are going to win the East this season — they should, they are the best team — he will need to change that mindset.