Beyond The Mic: Dell Demps Uses Foreshadowing In Asik Acquistion
New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps didn't get the nickname "Dealer Dell" for nothing. In acquiring Omer Asik, Demps showed foreshadowing and gumption. Let me explain.
Demps began preparing for the 2014 offseason during the 2014 regular season. With only 2 games left, he waived center Greg Stiesma and signed Melvin Ely to replace his roster spot. While Stiesma had been disastrous on the floor, it wasn’t the reason for the move. Ely had played over 10 years in the NBA, and as a ten-year veteran, was a due a minimum salary of $1,448,490 million the following season. Most importantly, his salary is unguaranteed.
Today, the Pelicans, Rockets, and Wizards finalized a three-team trade that sends Omer Asik and Omri Casspi to New Orleans.
The deal includes a lot of moving parts, and a few parts that won't even play in the NBA next season. The Wizards keep a sizable trade exception ($8.5 million in this case) by agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Rockets acquisition of Trevor Ariza. The Pelicans send the unguaranteed contracts of Scotty Hopson (who they acquired from Charlotte in a sign-and-trade for PG Brian Roberts today) and Alonzo Gee (who they acquired from Cleveland for a top-55 protected 2nd round draft pick) to the Rockets, and the unguaranteed contract of Melvin Ely to the Wizards.
Demps is able to send out salary (Hopson, Gee, Ely) to enable the Pelicans to acquire Omer Asik's contract under the league's financial guidelines. All three players will likely be waived shortly after the deal is approved by the league. In addition to Asik, the Pelicans will receive $1.5 million in cash, and small forward Omri Casspi from Houston.
When news came down nearly 3 weeks ago that the Pelicans had agreed to a deal with the Rockets to acquire Asik for a protected 1rst round draft pick, New Orleans knew they would have to send out more salary for the trade to be approved. Initially, the thought was that Austin Rivers or Ryan Anderson (and some hoped Eric Gordon) might be on the move, but now the Pelicans keep both by trading players they never planned to keep on the roster.
Omri Casspi is a minimum salary player. By league rule, his salary could be thrown into a trade and not count as part of the overall salary involved in the transaction. He's a little lagniappe for the Pelicans, which they could use considering how thin they are at small forward.
When your team is out of the playoff hunt, you begin setting up dominoes before they fall. Demps set one up with Ely back in April, creating a domino effect that gives the Pelicans the center they need…and a little gravy at small forward too.