The New Orleans Pelicans have parted ways with general manager Dell Demps, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.
Feb 8, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) before their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Demps had held that role with the franchise since June 2010.
Demps was unable to make a deal at the Feb. 7 trade deadline for disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis, who is under contract through the 2019-20 season, with a player option for 2020-21. Davis requested a trade in late January.
Demps had discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers about a trade, but the sides did not appear to be close. Lakers president Magic Johnson, asked later if he thought New Orleans had negotiated in good faith, answered, “No.”
Wojnarowski reported that the Pelicans and team owner Gayle Benson are looking at team consultant Danny Ferry as the “likely choice” as interim general manager. The report said details are still being finalized.
Ferry has previously served as a general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2005-10) and Atlanta Hawks (2012-15).
Ferry took a 10-month leave of absence from his duties with Atlanta after reading a scouting report out loud that contained “offensive and racist” comments about then-Miami Heat player Luol Deng. He reached a buyout with the Hawks in June of 2015.
He joined the New Orleans organization in June of 2016.
Regarding Demps, Wojnarowski further wrote on Twitter that “team 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.”
New Orleans has made the playoffs three times under Demps, in 2011, 2015 and 2018.
In October, former NBA commissioner David Stern said Demps “is a lousy general manager” in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
Stern recounted how, in 2011, with the NBA acting as the New Orleans team’s interim owner, Demps came to him for approval of a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul, then in his sixth NBA season, all with New Orleans, to the Lakers.
New Orleans would have received Lamar Odom from the Lakers and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic from the Rockets, plus a first-round draft pick that the Rockets had acquired in a previous deal with the New York Knicks.
The Rockets would have received Pau Gasol from the Lakers.
Acting as the Hornets’ owner, Stern recalled, he said, “We can do better than that” return for Paul.
About a week later, Stern approved trading Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and an unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick.
The Clippers also received two future second-round picks.
Despite that haul, Stern said, “Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”
At that time, the Pelicans responded with a tweet saying they have “the utmost confidence in our general manager, Dell Demps” and that they are “excited about the direction of our team.”
—Field Level Media