The Next Free Agent: Dell Demps

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Published: July 30, 2012

Jake talks about why the next contract the Hornets should look at is not a player, but General Manager Dell Demps.

We’ve spent much of the offseason speculating about the future of Eric Gordon, whether it is legal, per the CBA, for the Robin Lopez trade to go through, or how much cap space the team has. But we’ve forgotten about the big two remaining free agents the Hornets have.

The man that brought the team together and the man that coaches them: Dell Demps and Monty Williams. I’ll tackle Monty later; right now, we’ll look at Demps.

Extending Demps’ contract should be one of Tom Benson’s top priorities.

If there is anything to learn from the Neil Olshey situation with the Clippers, it is best to be proactive when trying to retain front office talent. The last thing the Hornets need is for Benson to either get cheap with Dell or think that one the Saints personnel can handle the position. The Hornets have one of the brightest GM’s in the league, and they need to do everything they can to hold onto him.

For the past two seasons the Hornets have been mired in instability. Now that they are entering a new period under new ownership and are poised to be a young, rising team there needs to be a cohesive plan to keep things on the upswing.

Stability starts at the top. The owner is now in place, but the first shakeup started with members of Benson’s cabinet taking over key roles in the Hornets organization. Obviously there will be changes with a new owner, that is to be expected, but the man who has been the architect of this still-evolving team is too valuable to replace.

Think of the offseason thus far as an interview for Dell Demps. For the first time he has had the ability to put together the team he wants — there is no star point guard to try and appease; no going-broke owner with cold feet; no lack of an owner with who-knows-what on its at-least-29 minds.

And yet, despite the previously mentioned challenges he’s faced, Demps has fully remade the roster. As I pointed out last week, Demps has mainly done this from one trade to the next. While you may disagree with some of the contracts he’s given out, almost all of his trades have come at the expense of minor assets–mainly 2nd round picks. With the recent acquisition of Lopez you can start to see the end result of his moves. For now. It’s worth noting that nearing the start of Demps’ third season, there is not one player from the 09-10 season on the team anymore.

But of course it is not that simple just to hand him a new contract. There are two main reasons why.

First, there is the big black eye of the Whatever-The-Hell-Happened-Lakers-Trade. Without rehashing all of that, keep these thoughts in mind: At the time of the Lakers trade, there is no way of knowing what form of the Clippers trade was on the table. And, Demps truly believed the team he put together from the Lakers trade would be a contender.

Second, it would be hard for Benson to give Demps a new contract based only on the team he’s assembled. Results do matter, and we’ve yet to see this team play a single game. With a year left on his current deal and, presumably, a team option for the year after that, I doubt we’ll see his deal extended just yet.

And even though Demps has done a great job retooling the roster, don’t think it is set. There are still positions to upgrade and moves to make. And I bet the Chessmaster has a plan in mind.

37 comments
john eitmann
john eitmann

dell deserves to get an extension and i would believe that tom benson is smart enough to know that. what an amazing job the front office is doing !! dell eats, sleeps, and dreams basketball. he is as sharp as they come, and we are very fortunate to have him leading our team.

bob
bob

Prediction...Brian Roberts will not only make the Hornets team but will be starting by midseason. At the point. Rivers will struggle big time this year.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

I haven't been Demps greatest supporter however I think at this point he has to be resigned. If we were going to replace him the time was immediately after Benson took over. Demps has his fingerprints all over this team at this point. So for better or worse he should see this thing out. As for Dell I'm not thrilled about his transactions. Also I can't look pass the Laker/Rocket deal and I think he miss handled the Gordon situation among others. With that said Demps has proven to be a very competent GM, but I think all the praise is far too premature. I'm reserving my right to wait and see. I don't see this as a championship core and IMO ultimately that's what matter the most.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Well we certainly have a huge upgrade at GM (and coach) over our last pair. I like Monty, Dell seems to be doing well enough so I'm not sure I would risk a change as we've seen the downside up close and personal.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

I think you are overrating Dell Demps. He performed no trade impact, which would bring us an All Star. The best player he got was Eric Gordon, but in return the best player in franchise history. I'll applaud Dell Demps when he brings players like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum or Rudy Gay for the Hornets. And then we will form our Big Three. Before that happens, I think his work is just good, far from spectacular. But if he brings back Chris Paul, I will stretch out the red carpet for him. But I don't believe that happens. Demps need to make an acquisition impact. Without it, I don't consider his work like outstanding and I see no reason to call him Chessmaster because movements that bring Ryan Anderson, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza, Willie Green... He needs to get an All Star!

Josh
Josh

I hope that we sign Dell and Monty very soon.

John in MO
John in MO

Anthony "Skynet" Davis was 5-5, 2-2, 12pts, 3rebs, 1blk in 14 min against Tunisia. Things are looking up. I would love Dell to be the guy who shapes our perennial contender.

Hornets686
Hornets686

Next BIG move for Dell.... DRAFT Alex Poythress!! I'm jumping on the Alex Poythress ban wagon!

Kempleton
Kempleton

Anybody know if they are in London to scout potential international recruits?

LaNative
LaNative

The trade that didn't happen was due to the NBA owning the team. Give Demps a lot of credit because he admirably handled the media circus of NBA ownership and CP3's demand to be traded and David West deciding not to resign. Dell and Monty managed that drama and kept the team inspired and playing with tremendous heart. Athletes can be extremely emotional and immature when it comes to teams, winning and where they want to play. Both he and Monty are highly respected by players. When the dust settled CP3 and David West said that the ownership or the lack thereof was the problem, not the GM or coach. I wanted both David West and CP3 to stay, but in hindsight it was best for the team that they moved on. It would be crazy not to extend Demps or Williams because the franchise is building a culture, an identity as a place where players are cared for. Changing out either of those guys would put the team back in square one. I agree that we must see this team in action but we must also manage our expectations.

J
J

Demps is a moron. Just resign Monty and let Loomis take over.

Snow
Snow

If we don't re-sign both Demps & Williams, I will be extremely disappointed. Demps has made some great moves and Monty had the team under control last season. Usually with the season like the Hornets last year, the coach loses his whole team, that didn't happen to Monty. It'd be a good idea to sign them long term Benson! Great article

Mojart
Mojart

Re-sign Dell demps and coach Monty

BDavis
BDavis

I don't see any reason our front office wont get extensions. Benson bringing his guys over to help smooth over transition was just that....nothing more. U have to understand Benson relies heavily on the people under him and if they take care of business, he takes care of them. Monty and Dell are doing their part.

hornetshornets
hornetshornets

Considering the circumstances, Dell has done a fantastic job of remaking this team from contract locked veterans with no upside to a young core with financial flexibility. However, there comes a time when wholesale changes don't need to be made and a team has to mature with pieces added more moderately. It will be interesting to see how this team is refined in the next year or so, rather than rebuilt. Pay the man, so we can see his vision fulfilled.

Mike P
Mike P

Great article, Jake. I think too much is made of the trade that wasn't.. Dell didn't even know if he'd keep his job when ownership transferred. even if he had known the Clippers trade was on the table, it made more sense for him to keep the Hornets relevant. I really hope we keep this guy, and I'm dreading the possibility of Loomis putting one of his guys in charge.

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  1. […] GM. As a result, news of this extension will largely be received in a very positive light, especially here at Hornets247. From the day he took the job back in July of 2010, Demps has arguably been one of the […]