The top two centers on the Pelicans roster are both set for unrestricted free agency, and Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune argues that Alexis Ajinca would be a better value than Omer Asik. Ajinca showed more offensive capabilities and blocked shots at about twice the rate that Asik did, but Asik is likely to command the higher salary, Smith observes. I made a similar suggestion when I looked at the offseason ahead for the Pelicans, but New Orleans would prefer to bring back both Asik and Ajinca, along with all of their other free agents, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote recently. There’s more on the Pelicans amid the latest from around the Southwest Division:
- People around the NBA have believed for a while that Joe Dumars would at some point be likely to take over the responsibilities that Mickey Loomis has atop the Pelicans franchise, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, writing in his NBA AM column. The Pelicans issued a statement denying that the team has spoken with the former Pistons exec about a job in the New Orleans organization, but Loomis, who is a friend of Dumars, and other Pelicans higher-ups reportedly met multiple times with Dumars this past fall. Loomis serves as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, though Dell Demps runs the day-to-day affairs as GM. Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently suggested that Dumars remained in play for a supervisory role above Demps.
- Rockets GM Daryl Morey is perhaps the most notorious practitioner of analytics among top NBA execs, but valuing numbers too highly over qualities that can’t easily be expressed in numbers, like leadership, may well be Houston’s downfall in the Clippers series, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines.
- The Spurs scheduled a workout with draft prospect Pat Connaughton, trainer Erik Kaloyanides revealed via Twitter (hat tip to Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). Connaughton, a shooting guard coming off his senior year at Notre Dame, is the 71st best prospect in the rankings that Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiles, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him 98th.
- Mavs GM Donnie Nelson believes Chandler Parsons will someday become an NBA GM himself and says that he’d be glad to mentor the small forward toward a front office career once his playing days are over, as Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com relays.