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Pelicans can't bring Saints fans back to consciousness!

by J.W. Miller on 02/11/19

Football is over for a while, thankfully so in the Saints’ case, but now comes the big letdown. I sat at my terminal today and tried to decide what I could write about that could snap Who Dat Nation back to consciousness. Oh, there’s plenty going on, but nothing equals the magnitude of football. Is there a subject that can peel that vacant, unconscious stare from the eyes of a loyal Who Dat? Well, talking about the Pelicans won’t do it. 

After watching the Anthony Davis trade-me debacle unfold, I am more turned off than ever at the NBA. I never thought AD would want out of New Orleans in the first place - Who wants to leave New Orleans? - but I’m a slightly naïve, hopeful traditionalist. The NBA system confuses me. Damn luxury taxes! Damn Bird Rights! Damn mid-level exceptions and maximum contracts! My old boss, Jim Finks, is spinning in his crypt at all the shenanigans that have taken over sports, particularly the NBA. 

In fairness to Davis, Pelicans’ management has bobbled this one out of bounds. GM Dell Demps never really seemed to have a consistent plan on how to build around Davis for the long term, although the organization was snake-bit by injuries over the years. I will be very surprised if the Quality Control unit of the Benson Sports Empire keeps Demps or Coach Alvin Gentry on board another year. Whoever comes in to right the ship should have some good young players and a bagful of draft choices to work with, although my take on NBA draft choices is not very optimistic. So you trade a generational player like Davis to obtain draft choices in the hopes of drafting a generational player? I am still watching Who Dat Nation stare straight ahead and begin to drool. 

My chagrin of the NBA intensified at the NBA trade deadline, which was like watching a Groupon auction. Teams would offer 40 percent of their roster trying to snag The Guy who could put them over the top while others were talking three-way deals that sent players all over. We are most familiar with the Lakers’ quizzical offer for Davis that included Kyle Kuzma, a pretty good player, and Lonzo Ball, whose father, LaVar, should be arrested for child abuse. When news of the offer came out, the biggest mouth in sports said his son would never play in New Orleans. Good! Because now we don’t have to put up with your crap! 

The rules also allowed the Lakers to throw in Michael Beasley, who is 53 years old and does crossword puzzles while riding the bench. Then, when he was eventually traded to the Clippers, he was immediately released. Cap management, they call it. A team takes a player in a trade not with the purpose of playing him but to toss him out like an expired gallon of milk to make cap space for a potential move three years from now. And the Celtics were prohibited from offering the Pelicans anything for Davis because they could not take on another maximum salary as long as Kyrie Irving is on the roster. They will be laying in the weeds until the season is over and the salary system readjusts. Cha-ching! 

I suppose my ultimate displeasure with the NBA is because the league has evolved to the point that the players have taken control of what happens with individual teams. Free movement allows them to stack a team like LeBron did in Miami and Cleveland and won championships. Golden State could add to a championship team, and others are looking to do the same. So if the better players around the league are trying to create a small handful of super teams, where does that leave the Little Sisters of the NBA Poor and their fans? They really don’t have much control because the finances of sport comes down to leverage, and the NBA players have it. An employee-controlled industry sounds like a good idea until you realize that the inmates truly are running the asylum. There’s no stability. It’s more like controlled chaos!

And what about our poor Who Dat in withdrawal? He is still staring longingly into space, saliva dripping from the corner of his mouth. But wait. Do I see movement? Never mind. He’s now sucking his thumb. 

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