Part one of this three-part series featured the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. For part two we are going to head out west and discuss the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings.
New Orleans Pelicans
On January 28, Anthony Davis dropped a bombshell on the basketball world. The New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center informed the franchise that he would not sign a long term extension with the team.
This was not surprising news that Davis wanted out of New Orleans, rumors of him leaving had long been discussed. The timing of the announcement was shocking and unexpected.
Daivs’s announcement completely derailed the rest of the season. Davis was placed on an absurd minute restriction. A season in his prime was wasted, and the franchise was left with no clear direction or plan for the future.
General Manager Dell Demps was fired, and David Griffin was hired and named Vice President of basketball operations.
Griffin recently held this title in Cleveland and was the key architect of their championship team. Griffin is known in circles as a great team builder and someone who can relate to players.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Pelicans attempted and made a full-court shot. With only a six percent chance of winning the draft lottery, the Pelicans won the lottery.
This put them in a position to draft the most anticipated, most hype, most exciting player since LeBron James, Zion Williamson.
When the commissioner stepped to the podium to announce who the Pelicans were taken with the first pick Williamson’s name was called.
The Pelicans would also draft Jaxon Hayes an athletic pogo stick from Texas. The big man has amazing potential and his upside is sky-high.
Zion and Hayes have the potential to become the most athletic front lines the game has ever seen since Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson.
Anthony Davis would eventually get his wish and would be traded to the Lakers. In exchange for Davis, the Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart along with a multitude of draft picks.
Ball and Ingram have a lot to prove in New Orleans. Both were taken with the second pick in the draft by the Lakers both have not met their full potential so far in their young careers.
Ball is heading into his third season and health and shooting have been an issue for the young point guard. This is going to be a crucial season for Ball, but with his court vision and passing the Pelican fans are in for a lot of exciting lobs to Zion.
As I write this article Ingram has not signed a long term contract extension that he is eligible for. Ben Simmons signed a five year, $170 million dollar contract this summer.
So question is will the Pelicans offer Ingram the same contract? The Pelicans probably will offer Ingram a max extension.
If that happens the Pelicans will have a strong exciting young core of Zion, Ball, Ingram, and Hayes. Not a bad on the fly reset for a team that was just in shambles back in January.
All eyes will be on the Pelicans this season because Gumbo won't be the only thing cooking in New Orleans.