Before I go into this, I think it is necessary to have a short explainer on "Conspiracy Theories". As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary aficionados, a conspiracy theory is "a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups". A theory is "an idea that is suggested or presented as possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true." So in short, don't take any of the following theories as truth, they are just meant to be fun ideas about secretive plots that could explain the Pelicans not so fun season.
Conspiracy Theory #1: Dell Demps has been planning to tank this season all along
Just think about it. Who is the most notable team with a super star to intentionally tank a season? The San Antonio Spurs of course. What organization did Dell Demps come up from? Well wouldn't you know, THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS! Coincidence? I think not!
There are also some practical reasons to believe Dell Demps has planned this tank. As a General Manager with a superstar player, what is your biggest fear? Your super star player leaving because you couldn't make the playoffs (See Kevin Love in Minnesota).
So what does Dell Demps do? He pushes the team to make the playoffs, even if it means some players, notably Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter, will be injured the following season. Consequently, after a successful run to the playoffs, Anthony Davis signs a five year extension the first second he was able.
Next, our conspirator fires his young head coach who is coming off a successful run to the playoffs in order to ensure the team will not continue its success. Dell then replaces him with the worst coach he can find. Dell plans for the coach to alienate all of the players, resulting in a tank of a season.
Dell Demps finishes off his masterpiece with a top three pick, in which he is able to draft a second star to play along Anthony Davis.
Conspiracy Theory #2: Alvin Gentry has been planning to tank this season all along
Back in Phoenix, Gentry's ultimate demise came from a lack of talent on his team. Is it possible Gentry bamboozled his way into this job just to get his hands on Anthony Davis? Then he decided why have one superstar when you could have two! Not hard to reason that more talent equals better job security.
It wouldn't be the first time a coach has sweet talked his way into a head coaching position just to get his hands on an NBA Superstar. In fact, you don't have to look any further than Gentry's two previous bosses, Doc Rivers and Steve Kerr.
Gentry knows what kind of talent it takes to win an NBA championship. He also has a nice shiny contract that might offer him more security than his peer Dell Demps (we don't know what Dell's contract looks like). This all might explain why he constantly bemoans and chastises the players Dell Demps has signed in public.
Conspiracy Theory #3: Ish Smith was sent to infiltrate and corrupt the 76er's
In 2013, Dell Demps traded two first round picks to the 76er's for Jrue Holiday. It later came out that 76er's Sam Henikie failed to disclose Jrue Holiday had a stress fracture. As a result, The 76er's had to pay the Pelicans three million dollars.
So why would Dell Demps do the 76er's by trading a competent point guard in Ish Smith to the 76er's. Maybe it was just the value in the two 2nd round picks but perhaps Dell has finally found a way to exact his revenge!
Is it impossible that Dell Demps sent Ish Smith to the 76er's on a mission to slowly wreak havoc? No, no it is not my friends. I wouldn't be shocked (actually yes I would be) if Ish Smith is just over at the 76er's talking up the Pelicans and how great his time was there to all the 76er's young players.
While turning the Sixers young players to the Pelicans side, Ish Smith is helping the Sixers increase the amount of numbers in the win column. This furthers Demps dark secret plan to tank the season and get Ben Simmons!