Lebron and Melo Are Handcuffing Dell Demps

Published: July 7, 2014

Free Agency opened at 12:01 on July 1st, but did it really? Here we are on Day 7 and the best players to sign contracts with a new team are Spencer Hawes and Darren Collison. Excuse me for not getting excited about either of those names. But while us fans are annoyed by the lack of transactions, Dell Demps might be even more frustrated.

On June 26th, Demps agreed to a trade in principle that will send a future 1st round pick to the Rockets for Omer Asik and cash. As we have documented numerous times on this site, Demps would have to make a few small moves to accommodate Asik’s salary, but I am sure that when Demps accepted the trade, this seemed like a non issue. But here we are, just two and a half days from the Moratorium being lifted, and the league is at a standstill because of Lebron and Melo.

Teams are waiting for Lebron and Melo to decide because of all the dominoes it can knock down. And agents are waiting as well, because they know that if certain scenarios play out, they know that teams could get desperate if they miss out on a superstar and up their offers. Sure, the Hawks can make a pitch for Luol Deng today, knowing that they are not in the hunt for Lebron or Melo, but why would Deng’s agent sign today? If and when the Mavs, Lakers, and Suns miss out on the superstars, won’t they turn their eyes to a guy like Deng? Won’t that make his price go up?

And this is why the entire league is at a standstill, save for some role players. And as the moratorium lurks on Thursday, Dell Demps timetable to make a move or series of moves to absorb Asik without giving away pieces he deems valuable is getting smaller and smaller. In all likelihood, the Rockets will demand that the Pelicans put in the trade to the league the second that the Moratorium is lifted so that they could have significant cap room.

Ideally, Dell would have liked to put in the Asik trade after he submitted a couple of other moves or put it in as a three-team trade to preserve his MLE, BAE, and Bird Rights. But what if he can’t get anybody else to agree to other moves because the league is at a standstill, waiting on Lebron and Melo? This is the worse case scenario for Demps, and something he couldn’t have predicted back on June 26th. Even when Lebron dragged out ‘The Decision’ in 2010, he announced it on July 8th, and almost all of the other big free agents had committed as well.

But the odds that all this drama will be settled by the 8th or 9th this year seems pretty low as we stand right now. And if the league does sit and wait, it could severely limit Dell’s options. He would love to package Aminu and/or Roberts in a sign and trade that would help facilitate the Asik trade, or maybe even move Austin Rivers for some value to make the trade work and preserve the MLE, which he could use on someone like Jameer Nelson.

But all those dominoes can’t possibly fall until the big ones do. And so Dell waits; handcuffed by two of the league’s marquee stars, hoping that they make their decisions in time to let him do his job.


  1. Caffeinedisaster

    July 7, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I’m so ready for “The Decision 2014” so that all the signings/trades can commence.

    ……so bored……..

  2. Zed84

    July 7, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Mello and Lebron are the two biggest douchebags besides CP3 holding the league hostage til they get what they want.

  3. 504ever

    July 7, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Hopefully, the delay hits Houston, and all of the other teams, evenly, so we have time to play things out.  My assumption is Dell has talked to Houston about the time element are they are being reasonable.

  4. dbeard06

    July 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Can someone please explain this to Jimmy of the T-P?  If he had an incling of basketball knowledge, he would have been able to see this himself.  But instead he continues to bash Dell and the organization.  It’s a sad place we live in when PAID media can’t do their jobs!

  5. Zed84

    July 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

    dbeard06 Our sports media stinks to high heavens WDSU,WGNO WWL and T-P are still stuck in the stone age. John Reid and Jeff Duncan are clowns journalist they’re a total joke.

  6. KujoBrodaDaggs

    July 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    This is actually the best thing that can happen to us in New Orleans. Anyone who keeps up with the proceedings around the league will understand why: Indiana is ready to make some moves. If Dell moves forward with this foolish Asik trade, we lose a draft pick for a 1-year rental of a center but a better move is waiting. Indiana wants to trade Hibbert and they’ll soon need a 2guard because Stephenson is as good as gone. Gordon’s salary and contract match up just about perfectly with Hibbert’s so the trade can be done straight up. Gordon is from Indy, wants out of New Orleans, and doesn’t want to come off the bench. Hibbert wants out of Indiana and New Orleans needs a big body in the middle. The Asik trade isn’t completed so all bets are off. Indiana can start another big at Center since they don’t need superstar contributions and neither do we.
    This is too perfect to not happen!

  7. Michael McNamara

    July 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    KujoBrodaDaggs The Asik trade is happening. Make no mistake about that. It is just about how it goes down.

  8. Come On Pelican

    July 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for writing an article explaining why you have nothing to report.

  9. Zed84

    July 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    KujoBrodaDaggs Asik is a rim protector Hibbert is not. This team needs a superstar to draw fans this team fanbase has struggled during the CP3 and post CP3 era. The fans don’t come around til the Saints season is over so from November to January no one is barely coming unless Lebron,Melo and CP3 is coming to town.

  10. mateor

    July 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Who else thinks siging with the Pelicans would give LeBron his absolute best chance to win?

  11. Zed84

    July 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    mateor  In a perfect world with no divas yes but in the ego manic  ESPN small market hating big market loving world NO!!

  12. 504ever

    July 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    In what universe is Hibbert close to Asik, let alone possessing a skill set the Pelicans need?  Asik is a near perfect match for this team.  What he brings, rebounding and defense, are the two biggest weaknesses on tis team by any (every?) statistical measure.

  13. Zed84

    July 7, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    xman20002000 He was not coming here in the first place $.2.1M a year.

  14. kfte

    July 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Zed84 it’s known as free agency!

  15. LateNite504FC

    July 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Not really unpredictable — that it would take this long for Melo and big 3 to decide.

  16. Pelican Poster

    July 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    KujoBrodaDaggs Hibbert = Head Case…no thank you

  17. Sportnlyfe

    July 8, 2014 at 1:01 am

    It’s worth considering if this slow walking of the decisions isn’t in fact a deliberate tactic. If I were Superstar X trying to put together a lineup for a championship run, and I couldn’t be certain that any one team could put the best lineup around me, then one way to stack the deck in my favor would be to keep my competitors from putting together a better lineup themselves. If everyone has to scramble at the last minute because of the Moratorium, then the potential number of front office moves would very likely be diminished, extrapolating Demps’ situation league-wide. Whether intentional or not (and, let’s face it, with Pat Riley and Phil Jackson having such key roles in the stare down, how can there not be some level of gamesmanship involved?) there’s certainly a need for the league’s Competition Committee to look into the anti-competitive impact of the situation and to institute changes to avoid this type of train wreck from becoming the new normal. It’s one thing to form your little super teams within the constraints of the salary cap as a way to offset the owners’ mistrust of each others’ egos, but turning free agency into a game of “I can get mine and also keep you from getting yours” threatens the integrity of the game in ways that specifically impact the small market Have Nots of the League.

  18. Zed84

    July 8, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Sportnlyfe Small market owners are afraid of the competition committee it’s filled big market front office people. The NBA is a turn off to some fans because some of the divas want to play in big markets where  the money is, corporate interest and “real fans” are. This might offend some people but in AD’s mind in a few years will you go somewhere where the owner(s) look like they work on wall street and know the people about town or play for an ‘boss hog’ owner (Benson) and colorful fans that take you for you? You be the judge

  19. jmbell7

    July 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Pelican Poster KujoBrodaDaggs Yeah way too many games over 30 minutes and 2 points and 0 rebounds or 0 points and 1 rebound etc.

  20. Sportnlyfe

    July 8, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Zed84 Sportnlyfe xman20002000 
    Yeah, divas, no doubt. No doubt! The
    practical information they need to make a decision is who else
    is on the roster, and how am I better off with this deal than that
    other deal? That’s not a time-consuming discussion to have, and they
    probably made up their minds a long time ago. But they’re divas year
    round. They have their own universe that insulates them from the direct
    consequences of their actions, so being a jerk doesn’t normally impact
    their brand negatively. I’m suggesting that there’s a possibility they
    are also deliberately pissing in the well to create chaos because it
    materially benefits them. The more market uncertainty they create, the
    greater the likelihood that their more market-dependent competitors will be forced to make panicked, time-constrained (i.e., “bad”) choices. Game of Thrones, guys: Chaos is not a pit, it’s a ladder.

  21. PelicanSaints

    July 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    KujoBrodaDaggs Obviously you didn’t see the Pacers in the playoffs. Hibbert was awful. He will be a rental as well, his contract is up after next year. Besides, Hibbert complains about getting touches. We need a big who can defend rebound get garbage baskets.

  22. Pingback: Dell reduces energy intensity of product portfolio by nearly a quarter | Dell

  23. Sportnlyfe

    July 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

    xman20002000 Sportnlyfe Zed84
    Hmmm . . .IS LeBron going to Cleveland? Or is he just screwing with Dan Gilbert? We’ll see at some point, I guess. My comment was not that small markets are being targeted by superstars to crap all over (all though if Lebron goes back to Miami it sure will look that way to people in Cleveland, won’t it?). My point is that small markets disproportionately suffer because of the scarcity of difference makers and the difficulty of holding on to them. And that the difference makers at some level are aware of that. 
    After the last couple of days, who can say that all Lebron is doing is just trying to make the best decision for himself and his family? Check out the article by Netw3rk on Grantland, “The Miami Heat and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.” [http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-miami-heat-and-the-prisoners-dilemma/ ] It’s an analysis of the Heat free agents and their decision making process, based on the idea that their individual best interests do not align with each other 100%, and at some point, each one will be asking himself if the others are trying to screw him over. At which point, each one will have to decide whether to screw the others over first, in order to get the best outcome for himself. And that’s just among the three team members! The Miami Basketball Cartel! 
    So how can anyone say that it’s only about mindless vanity. Lebron doesn’t know he’s screwing things up for everybody? He doesn’t suspect that it’s beneficial to his own team if other teams can’t make all their critical personnel moves? It doesn’t help him in the larger scheme of things, if the, say, Pelicans can’t make all the necessary moves to get Asik and put an athletic shooter on the wing, or, closer to home, if the delay in free agency costs Washington Trevor Ariza? The league wide collateral damage of his and Melo’s stare downs benefits his franchise, whichever team he chooses. You can’t rule out the fact that at some level he’s aware of that.

  24. Zed84

    July 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Now with Lebron  back with the Cavs along with K Love, Mello back with Knicks and Phil trying to get the Gasol Bros. and Bosh going to Houston. All I hope except a few trolls is Gordon traded, Morrow re signed and get a SF that wants to play here.

  25. lawstar

    July 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Now that we got Omer Asik maybe we can get Chander Parson a small forwad restricted free agent also in a trade.

  26. Zed84

    July 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Sportnlyfe Dude you commenting to a guy who loves Gordon. It’s a small victory for small market teams with Lebron back in Cleveland but in a few years Durant is going start this small market big market battle all over again.

  27. Sportnlyfe

    July 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    xman20002000 Zed84 Sportnlyfe
    Attracting Evans and Holiday in trades is not necessarily evidence that small markets have achieved free agency parity with the glamor destinations. Holiday, was under contract and had no choice. Evans chose to come, but had no other suitors willing to pay what N.O. offered. We don’t know what he might have done had he had another suitor willing to pay the same. 
    All three opportunities came about ultimately only because another celebrity athlete had forced his way out of town. (Because he wanted to swim in a bigger fish pond.) And Gordon, remember, was not a volunteer to return. He begged not to be matched so he could leave, but he was compelled by NBA rules to do so. Why such a rule to compel players to stay? Because there’s a problem with small market teams attracting quality players.
    Here we go round the mulberry bush. . . .

  28. Zed84

    July 11, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Sportnlyfe xman20002000 I’m going to say something that make some sense Texas,New York and Florida I believe have no state income tax if Louisiana would have a tax structure that would be decent for the state top 1% you can get any superstar(s) with a good roster intact. The reason I did say a good tax structure because this state do need the income tax but an income tax decrease could work to make this team attractive to superstar(s)

  29. Zed84

    July 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Sportnlyfe xman20002000 Zed84 The CBA needs to be change so it can small market friendly also.

  30. Zed84

    July 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    It’s a known fact that vets in the NBA who have been to the playoffs and the finals been around winning traditions will play for a contender. So we’ve to get use to small potato talent on this team.

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