Four days. It's been a total of four days since the New Orleans Pelicans were last rumored to be connected to Joe Dumars. Welcome back. This time our source is Gery Woelfel, columnist for the Racine Journal Times. Unlike Fletcher Mackel, Ken Burger, Justin Verrier, and Stephen A. Smith (the last three in just the last four months) Woelfel has more information than just "Joe Dumars will come to the Pelicans." Woelfel explains a far more specific structure with Dumars as the President of Basketball Operations and John Hammond, current general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, functioning in the same capacity in New Orleans.
Two of the more significant changes could involve Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. A year ago, there was considerable chatter Hammond would move on, only to see him receive a one-year extension. But several NBA sources contend Hammond will soon be relocating to another zip code — either being fired or leaving on his own volition.
Talk among some league officials is Hammond will end up in perhaps a similar position with New Orleans. The Pelicans figure to be doing some serious housecleaning themselves and hire Louisiana native, former Detroit Pistons "Bad Boy’’ and Hammond confidante Joe Dumars as the president of basketball operations.
Hammond has numerous ties to both Joe Dumars and Alvin Gentry. Hammond was an assistant coach under Doug Collins with the Detroit Pistons and elevated to Gentry's lead assistant with the Pistons during the 1999 season. Hammond then followed Gentry to the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant coach for the 2000-01 season. After the season Hammond moved back to Detroit, this time in the front office as the Vice President of Basketball Operations under Joe Dumars.
Hammond and Dumars worked extremely well together. In seven seasons together the Pistons made the playoffs every year and made the Eastern Conference Finals six times in the row. After that successful run Hammond moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2008 and has been the General Manager there for eight seasons.
Connecting those dots is pretty easy but do not be quick to dismiss Woelfel's reporting as random speculation. (Although it may well be for all we know!) It was Woelfel who predicted a big shakeup for the New Orleans Pelicans last March regardless if they made the playoffs or not; a report which appears prescient considering the eventual termination of Monty Williams.
Hearing Pelicans will make some major moves after season - whether they make playoffs or not.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) March 10, 2015
As for John Hammond's record as a general manager in Milwaukee it is pretty mixed. He won Executive of the Year in 2010 after the Bucks went 46-36; a 12 game improvement over their 34-48 record in his first year on the job. Since then there are hits (Larry Sanders, John Henson, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the draft plus trading for Khris Middleton) and misses (almost all the rest of his trades).
It's hard to say how much that is Hammond doing well (or poorly) and how much it is the reflection of the marching orders he receives from ownership (or, more recently, Jason Kidd). A similar case can be made to defend Dell Demps. The Bucks right now have a young core (Antetokounmpo, Parker, and Middleton) with the possibility of serious cap space on the horizon. They also don't have a viable point guard on the roster, although Antetokounmpo is moonlighting as one since the All-Star Break.
One last connection to Dumars and New Orleans to point out. Hammond (or was it Kidd?) signed Westbank native Greg Monroe this summer to a three year contract. Monroe has long been connected loosely to the Pelicans and the arrival of the last GM to sign him AND Dumars (who originally drafted Monroe in 2010) allows the rumors to write themselves at this point.
This could be "paint by the numbers" reporting and sourcing of information. It also could be true.
Could this come to fruition relatively quickly? If the Pelicans are going to make a change in the front office it is best to move quickly so a new staff can properly prepare for the NBA Draft. If changes are not going to happen this off-season hopefully they announce as such soon after the season is complete as well. Going to Dumars and Hammond would feel like the Pelicans failed to do their due diligence. I still prefer Jeff Van Gundy or a more thorough search to the default "Louisiana connections" approach hiring Dumars would insinuate.
We should have answers on this in the coming weeks. Is change coming? Do you welcome it?