Pelicans Still Evaluating Gentry, Demps

Coach Alvin Gentry and GM Dell Demps remain on “day-to-day” status in New Orleans, and there’s not a set deadline for the organization to make a decision about their future, writes Scott Kushner for The Advocate.

The choice will be made by owner Tom Benson and senior VP of basketball operations Mickey Loomis, who are weighing a number of factors in deciding whether to keep both men. The Pelicans would seemingly want to have the issue addressed well before the June 22nd draft and the July 1st start of free agency, but Kushner notes that seven years ago, Demps was hired on July 20th.

Demps has held the job through three ownership groups, producing mixed results. Under his reign, the team has a 237-321 record with playoff appearances in 2011 and 2015. Demps drafted Anthony Davis in 2012 and got him to agree to an extension through 2021. He also swung a huge deal for DeMarcus Cousins at this year’s All-Star break, which may buy Demps some time in his position if the franchise waits to see how the Davis-Cousins pairing pans out.

“We certainly saw an uptick in the energy around the team since [Cousins] got here,” team president Dennis Lauscha said last month. “We’ve seen a big uptick in renewals, and we’ve seen an uptick in sponsorships already. Listen, he’s been great for the organization. He’s a great guy, and he’s already volunteered to do community stuff. We love having him as a part of our organization.”

However, Demps also has several prominent mistakes on his record, such as giving Omer Asik $58MM over five years in 2015 and giving up five of the team’s last six draft picks in deals for veterans.

Demps will also be evaluated on his decision to hire Gentry. The former Warriors assistant promised an up-tempo approach to better showcase Davis’ talents, but a two-year run of injuries has gotten in the way. With a 64-100 record in New Orleans, Gentry has one more guaranteed year on his contract, then a $4MM team option on the final season.
Loomis and Benson must decide whether they think the Demps-Gentry pairing will ever be successful and whether stability is more valuable than an immediate change would be. The organization could decide to keep both, fire both or just replace one, and the decision could be made at any time.

“I walk in here every day excited about my job,” Demps said after the season ended. “I don’t ever feel the pressure or anything like that. Right now, we’re in evaluation mode. We’re going to sit back and meet with Alvin. We’re going to sit back and go over the whole season. I think we’ve had a lot of challenges this year. But I do like the direction and path that we’re headed [on].”

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