When there's smoke, there's fire. In this case, we are once against discussing the possible (eventual?) link between Joe Dumars and the New Orleans Pelicans. These rumors have lingered now for years. Fletcher Mackel of WDSU thought Dumars was going to take control in February of last year. Ken Burger of CBS Sports came back to Dumars in January of this year. Justin Verrier of ESPN went to the Dumars well a couple weeks ago on the Dunc'd On podcast.
Add Stephen A. Smith to the list. About 41 minutes in (and I'm sorry for linking a First Take podcast) Smith and Skip Bayless discussed the recent resignation of Sam Hinkie. In passing, Smith brought up Joe Dumars and his eventual (?) connection with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Stephen A. Smith, pretty solid reporter, thinks Joe Dumars is going to end up as the Pelicans GM.— Joseph Billiot (@jdbillio) April 7, 2016
Marc Stein talked about the rumors. I reported about two hours ago Bryan Colangelo will be the new general manager running basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers. It will probably be announced Monday. That is imminent. It is going to happen. He's the new man.
I would have liked to seen, Skip, somebody like Danny Ferry get a good look. Because I thought to some degree he was railroaded. It would have been nice for him to get an opportunity. I would have liked to see somebody like Joe Dumars get a look. But, I think Joe Dumars could end up New Orleans because I don't know what's going to happen with [Dell] Demps. Time will tell it remains to be seen. Of course I want my man Troy Weaver and Scott Perry and individuals like that to get looks because I think they deserve it. Although I know none of them personally like that.
We've written a lot about Demps coming to New Orleans. I was originally against the idea although I noted that Dumars has a number of successes on his resume, especially in the draft. Quentin gave an excellent view on his position in January, and it is a similarly mixed bag.
However, I think we should go beyond "is Joe Dumars good for the Pelicans" and discuss if hiring Dumars is indicative of a good process on Airline Drive. (Thank you, Liberty Ballers, for the impetus.)
With the knowledge of availability - rather than the inevitability of a Bryan Colangelo reign - what possibilities open up? There are plenty of NBA general manager types who have similar or better resumes available, whether you're talking current GMs (like Rich Cho) or an adviser (like Kevin Pritchard). There's no telling who may have been interested, and it seems they weren't ever going to have a chance.
The difference in candidates could be the difference between being a title-contender and a run-of-the-mill nice team. Even Colangelo won't be able to help but build a good team. The question is could they have done better, and the answer based on Colangelo's mixed record is a near-resounding yes.
But blood is still thicker than water.
Hiring Dumars, a lingering heir apparent to Dell Demps for over a year, reeks of poor process. While not blood to the Benson family his connections to this state and ownership are well known. Dumars is "very close to our organization and our ownership and he has our utmost respect."
The question here is less about Joe Dumars and more about the process. Dumars might be the best steward for this franchise but the process arriving to his (hypothetical) selection gives the appearance of a shallow process.
While I have bashed this organization's future (based, mostly, on the lack of confidence I have in ownership more than those below them doing their bidding) it still provides hope. And that hope is in the form of Anthony Davis and at least four more years of contractual control. This control is an actual selling point used in recent correspondence to season ticket holders by the organization. If I was in the organization I would use it too. Heck, as a blogger covering this team I already have!
That control is also a selling point to a potential replacement for Dell Demps. Omer Asik is the only contract on the books that would be costly to move. A new CBA (with a new amnesty clause) could provide a solution. Ownership willing to waive and stretch is another. Accepting some cost, likely in assets, to move Asik is a third solution. Just figuring out how to maximize what Asik provides is also possible, if the least likely. Beyond that New Orleans offers hypothetical new general manager X a nearly blank slate and Anthony Davis. A superstar. The piece GMs lust over.
I'm not saying Dumars won't succeed if he's eventually the GM. But, the process to his selection is questionable.