Pelicans Notes: Schedule, Davis, Mirotic

The Pelicans will begin a five-game Western Conference road trip on Friday night, kicking off a 12-game stretch that represents a “make-or-break” segment of their schedule, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate.

If the Pelicans perform well during those 12 games – which include matchups against Golden State, Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston, Denver, the Clippers, and San Antonio (twice) – it would send a clear message to ownership and management that the club can contend, says Kushner. The stretch ends on February 4, just ahead of this season’s February 7 trade deadline, so New Orleans should have a better idea by then of whether the team remains a buyer.

On the other hand, if the Pelicans struggle and slip further out of playoff contention during those few weeks, it would be “plainly irresponsible” for the team to trade another future first-round pick for short-term help, Kushner notes.

Here’s more on the Pelicans as they gear up for a crucial portion of their schedule:

  • Even if the Pelicans slump before the trade deadline, there are no plans to make Anthony Davis available during the season, Kushner confirms. Still, the big man’s future remains a popular topic of speculation. Davis himself spoke earlier this week with Joe Vardon of The Athletic about how he tunes out those rumors, whether his situation has been a distraction, and what he wants out of his NBA career.
  • In that conversation with Vardon, Davis also addressed a recent report that suggested money wouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor when he weighs his future: “I never said money wasn’t important. Somebody asked me about money or your legacy. In that case, your legacy lasts forever. Your money comes and goes, but for me I want to build a legacy. In that case, if you have to choose between money or legacy, I think legacy wins every time, in my opinion. … I want winning to be a part of my legacy.”
  • In a recent, wide-ranging Q&A with Larry Holder of The Athletic, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson spoke about the need to give the team “more time” to gel and touched briefly on the subject of Anthony Davis. “I think [the Pelicans] are young, and we’re going to invest more money and get the big players and do everything we can to keep Anthony here,” Benson said. “I really like what we have in place. I really like Anthony, but if he wants to leave, you can’t hold him back.” Benson took over as the Pelicans’ controlling owner when her husband Tom Benson passed away last year.
  • The Pelicans’ lineup got on lift on Wednesday night when Nikola Mirotic returned from a month-long absence and looked healthy and productive in 22 minutes vs. Cleveland. However, after missing time due to his right ankle injury, Mirotic likely won’t cash in on any unlikely-incentive money for 2018/19. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter), Mirotic has three separate $250K performance bonuses ($750K total) that all hinge on him playing at least 65 games. If he misses two more games this season, Mirotic will fall short of 65.
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5 thoughts on “Pelicans Notes: Schedule, Davis, Mirotic

  1. Gayle, it’s like this. It’s too late for young and cute (you too, but I meant the team relative to AD’s contract clock). Pels are younger because they let a critical veteran like Rondo walk when he was ready to resign for very little. And because they let a talent like Cousins go without any contract offer. And, worst of all, they signed Randle to team with AD, perhaps the worst guy you could team with him and, in any case, one of the league’s worst defenders, and probably the only guy in the league who can turn a team with 2 first team all NBA defensive players into one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

    Tell the FO to do better, or you might really get young (oh, and btw bad and uninteresting) in a few years.

    • DynamiteAdams

      How do know Rondo was willing to accept little to stay in New Orleans? Also the Pelicans did offer Cousins a contract just for less then the max so Boogie took his chances with the best contender he could find to rebuild his value after the injury.

      • Rondo said so. Not according to Cousins (at least not last summer, after his injury). Both are statements made public. Rondo repeated it recently.

    • imindless

      This comment is so accurate it hurts! Randle is a bum would values his offensive game a little too much but is constantly overmatched by smaller quicker forwards and is to small to handle centers and power forwards. The only mistake lakers have made thus far is letting dangelo russel go, think he would have fit well next to lebron.

      • The Russell deal netted Kuzma and 21 mm in cap space (for last summer) which created their first max space a year in advance. Obviously, there were other ways to get cap space (since they got a 2nd one) and to get Kuzma, although likely not him and Hart.

        Russell’s been good this year, and I agree would be a much better fit with LeBron than Ball. But his cap hold for this coming summer is over 21 mm, so, even if Mozgov were removed by other means before the summer, it would be an either/or choice btw Russell and a quality FA this summer. Magic gave up on Russell, no doubt, but he wouldn’t be a zero sum addition to this year’s team if he didn’t.

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