Are Pelicans fans in panic mode right now?
If they’re not, should they be?
Much of the weekly NBA discussion was dominated by a certain MVP-level player in southern California openly opining for the services of New Orleans All-Star big man Anthony Davis, and the ensuing media maelstrom that followed the public declaration of said affection.
Davis, for his part, has said and done all the right things to this point — that while he’s flattered at the praise from one of the league’s all-time greats, his focus is on trying to fix his present situation in New Orleans.
That sounds good … but is it enough? Is the Pelicans’ ability to offer Davis a supermax contract this summer enough? If the team brass finds a way to improve the supporting cast, will that be enough?
Or is it a fait accompli that Davis is gone? Was Davis’ offseason decision to be represented by an agency run by the BFF of a certain MVP-level player in southern California a sign that a team-up is already inevitable? Is the 1 2/3 seasons remaining on his contract with New Orleans irrelevant if, like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard before him, he suddenly finds his present situation untenable and decides to leverage the future threat of leaving for nothing in order to hasten his departure to parts preferred?
So, again … are Pelicans fans panicking?
On the one hand, every prominent free agent-to-be from the past five summers has been linked to this one franchise, but that certain MVP-level player is thus far the only one to make the leap. And even he couldn’t convince anyone to tag along this past summer. So are they a legitimate threat to get The Brow?
Who knows? There is a certain appeal to that area, and a certain mystique to that team, and a certain pattern of that player usually getting what he wants. Then again, none of that matters if AD decides to really stick it out with the Pellies.
Then again again, it’s hardly unthinkable to think he might view a team that was easily handled in the playoffs a year ago by the Warriors, and which presently is under .500 in spite of his best efforts, might have no clear and obvious path to significant improvement — especially if he’s monopolizing $40 million-plus of the annual salary cap.
It’s all so unknowable. That he has this much time left on his present deal and yet these rumors are already so prevalent must be maddening. Absent a sudden about-face from the status quo from Davis, the Pelicans clearly have no immediate need to act.
They will try to shore up the roster, they will try to convince him there is good reason to stay, and then they will offer him one of the largest contracts in NBA history, and he will either accept it or not.
And then they will have their answer and can proceed accordingly.
In the meantime, though, I feel Pelicans’ fans pain. Getting to that point, all amid the constant clatter of the rumor mill, will be nigh unbearable for some of them.
As usual, good ol’ Tom Petty was right — the waiting is the hardest part.
THREE MORE THOUGHTS
• Hot on the heels of some games played in Mexico City, the National Basketball Association continues to grow its international presence, with the Thursday announcement that the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will play a pair of preseason games in Mumbai, India, in October 2019. The so-called “NBA India Games 2019” will take place at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) Dome, and will be the first games to take place in that country by any North American sports league. Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé is a native of Mumbai and the NBA’s first Indian-born majority owner.
• A year ago, the NBA partly ditched the traditional East vs. West format for the All-Star Game. While there were still an equal number of East/West players and starters, how the rosters themselves stacked up came down to the drafting ability of captains LeBron James and Steph Curry. Except the league mystifyingly decided to not televise the actual draft, apparently out of a desire to spare the last player picked from crying on national television. Yup, it was a dumb and needless decision. And one that’s apparently been rectified, as the New York Times reported that this year’s All-Star draft will indeed be on the telly. My guess is lots of fans will watch, and zero players will shed tears.
• Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown, who was infamously swarmed and tased by Milwaukee police while awaiting a traffic citation back in January, got a small bit of justice this week. One of the officers involved, Erik Andrade, was fired for mocking Brown’s arrest on social media. On Wednesday, Andrade’s appeal to get his job back was denied by Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission. Brown still has a pending lawsuit against the Milwaukee PD and the officers, accusing them of using excessive force and targeting him because he’s black.