The Next Free Agent: Dell Demps

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.


  1. Pingback: Hornets sign GM Dell Demps to multi-year contract extension | New Orleans Hornets |

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