For the past couple of seasons, the goal for the New Orleans Pelicans has been to pair their superstar forward Anthony Davis with another all-star. On February 20th, their wish came true as they landed arguably the best big man in the NBA DeMarcus Cousins in a trade with the Sacramento Kings. The new nickname Cousins came up with for him and Davis “Fire and Ice” officially came together. With the Cousins trade, the 2016-17 season for the Pelicans became a successful one as they look to return to postseason play next season.
Now the tough part for the Pelicans is to not only surround Cousins and Davis with shooters, but to keep the duo together for the foreseeable future. Cousins is scheduled to be a free agent next summer, which will put the full court press on the Pelicans to improve the roster quickly. The Pelicans also have to decide on whether they’ll bring back point guard Jrue Holliday, who will likely command max money in free agency. The decision to bring Holliday back from a talent standpoint is a no brainer. He’s a good player, but re-signing him will likely have the Pelicans over the cap which will limit the moves they can make.
Another decision the Pelicans might have to look is if they want to bring back their head coach Alvin Gentry next season. There were reports saying he’s on the hot seat due to the Pelicans failed playoff push that they envisioned happening this year. It’s important for the Pelicans to have some continuity going into next season and keeping Gentry will help in that regard.
For the Pelicans franchise, this summer is the most important one in franchise history. The mantra for next season has to be “playoffs or bust” because if they come up short on making the postseason again, don’t be surprised to see Cousins leave as a free agent, making the favorable trade they made to get him a total waste. They can’t afford to make any mistakes at this point because the clock is ticking and time isn’t on their side.
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