After making it back to the playoffs last year, the Pelicans are about to enter a crucial season for the future of the franchise, writes Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate. The organization may need a strong follow-up to its second-round ouster to ensure a long-term future with star big man Anthony Davis.
Davis will be eligible for a super-max contract next offseason worth up to $230MM. If he doesn’t agree to the deal, speculation will immediately begin about his impending free agency and he could be the top name on the market in 2020. Davis’ current contract includes a $28.75MM player option for 2020/21.
Although Davis has said repeatedly that he enjoys playing in New Orleans, he may not be convinced that the Pelicans will be an annual contender. There was a bit of a roster upheaval over the summer as the team lost DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo in free agency and found younger replacements in Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Trevor Ariza may not be gone from the Rockets for good, suggests Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Ariza agreed to a one-year, $15MM contract with the Suns in the early hours of free agency last month, but Bontemps doesn’t see that developing into a long-term relationship. If the Suns remain near the bottom of the West, Ariza could become a buyout candidate in February. The Rockets, who are still short on defensive-minded wings after losing Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, could see a reunion with Ariza as an easy solution.
- Brad Jones has been named as the new head coach of the Grizzlies‘ G League affiliate, the team announced today. He won a G League title in 2012 as head coach in Austin and led Utah to the finals in 2009. In his last job, Jones served as general manager for the G League Iowa Wolves and as a scout for the Timberwolves.
- The Spurs are the latest organization to have an official corporate partner, according to a release posted on the team website. The Spurs will team up with Frost Bank, a prominent banking, investment and insurance company in Texas, and will wear the company’s logo on their jerseys.