Before the Pelicans faced the Knicks inside Madison Square Garden Monday night, Alexis Ajinca publicly voiced his frustrations about his current situation to a French publication, à L’Equipe. To sum it up, the 4-year player for New Orleans no longer believes he has a future with the team and would prefer to be included in a trade to continue his career elsewhere.
Ajinca and the team’s other traditional center, Omer Asik, have been removed from Alvin Gentry’s current rotation and neither has appeared in a game since before Christmas. Ajinca started ten straight games in December, but he failed to leave the bench in the very next matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. His DNP-CD (did not play — coach’s decision) streak has now reached seven games.
Ajinca and Asik sit regularly on the sidelines because the coaching staff has committed to a small ball lineup on a full-time basis featuring Anthony Davis at center. At the time the switch was made, the Pelicans were desperate to shake things up due to the fact that the defense, the strength up to that point, was showing significant cracks in the foundation and Ajinca’s insertion in the starting lineup failed to provide the necessary boost to the offense.
During Ajinca’s ten starts, the Pelicans boasted a 101.8 offensive rating (ORtg) and a 108.9 defensive rating (DRtg). Since the Frenchman’s demotion, New Orleans has posted a 104.9 ORtg and a 100.9 DRtg. The offense’s ranking has improved mildly, from 24th to 21st, but the defense has absolutely taken flight, going from 22nd to 3rd!
Thanks to the current results, it’ll be interesting to watch if Dell Demps can grant Alexis Ajinca his wish before next month’s trade deadline because the odds of the center seeing NBA action appear significantly stronger anywhere outside of New Orleans.
Below is the full google translation of the basketusa.com article.
Anthony Davis staggered to the pivot in New Orleans, Alexis Ajinça and Omer Asik are now nailed to the bench. The Frenchman has thus no longer entered the game for six games and he confides his frustration to L'Equipe.
"It's very frustrating because I want to play, bring something to the team," he says. "I worked a lot and got back into shape early in the season. It was noted by the coaches and the general manager. And then it came overnight ... At first, I was told it was stories of match-ups and then afterwards, I was a little forgotten. After that, when I play, it's for five minutes and it's hard to do a lot of things."
Now out of the rotation of the Pelicans, the 28-year-old pivot no longer deludes himself on his future in Louisiana. Still under contract until 2019, he knows well that his future must take shape elsewhere ...
"The solution, it would be a trade, after if the club wants to make a buyout, we will see what they ask but normally it would be an exchange. I'm motivated because there are other teams watching me. So at all times, even at the warm-up, I try to go 100%. I have to stay very pro because everyone talks in the league. If a franchise inquires, they will ask how I behave when I do not play. So we can not have certain attitudes like being angry with the coach or others even if we are frustrated and annoyed."