The Time is Now For Dell Demps

Published: November 30, 2011

Last year we got a glimpse of who Dell Demps will be as a general manager. Call it Dell 101, if you will. It’s the first real view anyone has had of Dell as a top executive, and he’s so far passed with flying colors. This year, if the tentative deal we’ve heard about holds, we’re going to learn a whole lot more. The truth is we haven’t seen jack (Not Jarrett) from Dell so far.

Those minor deals last year involving Jarret Jack, Julian Wright, Marcus Thornton, Carl Landry and the rest of the bunch told us that Demps works the phones harder than most. It was reported at one point last year that he was actually the most active GM on the phones in the entire league. That may have been required of him to some to some extent, since he probably lacks the existing networks that more experienced GM’s have, but through sheer determination he found some pretty good deals and kept Chris Paul relatively happy/quiet. Hell, if David West hadn’t been hurt, that might actually wound up with a team that found the second round of the playoffs, which literally not a single “expert” predicted before the season.

The problem is that even if the Hornets had made the second round, Paul wouldn’t have finished the season eager to extend his deal and remain in New Orleans. As has been well documented, he wants to win and he wants to do it now. The squad the Hornets finished with last year (even if you include a healthy D-West) wouldn’t win the NBA title if we played that season 1,000 times. They are one, if not two, big moves away from putting together a true contender even if they re-sign West and Landry. Also there is no time to develop anyone since Paul is only really under contract for this season, so that’s out the window.

With a shorter season this year it means that Demps has a smaller window to determine if it’s worth taking a chance to keep Paul, or if the team would be better off dealing him. Specifically he has until December 31st to trade Paul to get maximum value. That is the last day that Paul could be dealt and still be eligible for a Bird-level contract with a new team. If he’s not traded by then, his max deal with another team will be roughly 69.7 million over four years compared to 93.9 million over five years New Orleans can offer him to stay after this season.

Because of that, Demps holds quite a few cards. Paul is playing his as well, already trying to dictate where he winds up. He reportedly is refusing to extend his deal if Boston is the destination, but if the Hornets don’t trade him, then he’s going to have to limp away from tens of millions of dollars with the clear possibility that his knee issues could return. He may never see that money again, and Demps needs to make sure that Paul himself understands the financial risk he takes by not taking a max deal. This could realistically be Paul’s last big contract given the knee issues, and anyone telling him not to maximize his earning potential now isn’t looking out for his best financial interests.

Rob Mahoney has an interesting take on the situation over at the NYT basketball blog, where he argues that the Hornets should try to do what Miami did and recruit Paul to create a superteam in New Orleans. Not a bad idea, if I do say so myself. I’d rather be terrible and young with the potential for a few high lottery picks than first round playoff fodder year after year.

With uncertainty still clouding the ownership situation, five and a half players under contract, and the very real potential for a new hands-on owner to come in and put his own people in leadership positions, the toughest job in basketball over the course of the next months may just belong to Dell Demps. Last year he held his own at the mid-stakes tables. This year he has a seat at the high-stakes table, ready or not.

I, for one, wouldn’t bet against Demps.


  1. J

    November 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    A superteam would be great go for it Dell

  2. NolaHog

    November 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Dell may not have brought in any blockbuster players last year, but he did unload some major albatross contracts that have put us in position to make some real moves this year. He hasn’t done anything yet to make me doubt him, so I’m eagerly waiting to see what he does in the upcoming months.

  3. J

    November 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I can’t wait to see what Dell going to do hit them phones chief.Geaux Hornets!!!!!

  4. Tim

    November 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Free agency is going to more exciting than it’s ever been, and Demps knows what he’s doing.

  5. Monty'sDoghouse

    November 30, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    CP3 ain’t coming back. Deal with it. The dude is a bigtime doucher in the pockets of LBJ’s craptacular marketing agency. I don’t really get the appeal at all. NO ONE associated with LBJ is a marketing megastar minus D-Wade and he was a marketing beast because he won a title and went apenuts (Don’t believe me? Where’s the Melo or Amare commercials? Oh right, non-existant. CP3 has more national commercials in NOLA by himself.) The CP3 we fell in with with is gone. CP3 is now very obviously “The King’s Bitch” if we had to give him a place on the high court. Dude reportedly won’t even go to the CELTICS limelight. WHY? Because they play defense and would wax the Heat with a legitimate PG. Let LBJ keep convincing him otherwise, the idiot.

    Ship his ass out (and trust me I’ve been holding out hope). Get me Eric Gordon and a 1st and I’ll be on my merry little way.

    So tired. Let me enjoy basketball again without having to worry about our PG being a gigantic hoe.

    • cro_CP3

      December 1, 2011 at 2:29 am

      Those are all rumors, I wanna hear from CP3 what he has to say, Chris Broussard said he doesn’t want to go to the Celtics, he wants to go to the Knicks bla bla bla, who gives a shit what Broussard says, we want to hear the real Chris talk and where he wants to go, so far he said My hear is in New Orleans…But does anyone believe in that? I think not, if we gather up a nice team here and start winning, he will sign for the Hornets…I think Demps has some aces in his sleeves…

    • CarnbY

      December 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Of course he doesn’t want to go to the Celtics, they’ll be rebuilding next year, he might as well stay here.

  6. Monty'sDoghouse

    November 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    one rumor im all about.

    why they’d do it – cp3 extension. oak next to blake could be a lot more effective than oak next to west.

    why we’d do it – Eric Gordon (MT5+defense), expirings, and a lottery pick

    • CarnbY

      December 1, 2011 at 8:42 am

      It’s definitely the most palatable of the trade rumours… Gordon is one of the most underrated players in the league atm

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