Hornets GM Dell Demps agrees to extension
NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Hornets general manager Dell Demps has agreed to a new multiyear contract extension to remain with the club and see through the roster overhaul that he and coach Monty Williams have conducted in tandem during the past two seasons.
``We have a plan, working with coach Williams,'' Demps said before Friday night's tip-off against Oklahoma City. ``We want to achieve sustained success. We've got a young core right now. We want to see those guys grow and play together and we want to compete at the highest level.''
The Hornets announced the deal Friday but did not release terms of the contract. Hornets executive vice president Mickey Loomis says Demps ``has a bright future,'' and that he and first-year owner Tom Benson ``couldn't be more impressed'' with the direction of the team.
Williams, who received a four-year extension running through 2015-16 last August, said it was important to him to have a GM in place with whom he felt he could work closely.
``Any time you get a chance to have a situation like this where you guys are working together and there's no in-fighting or any of that nonsense ... to be hand-in-hand in this capacity is something a lot of teams don't have,'' Williams said.
``I don't take it for granted. I talk to a lot of coaches around the league - mostly I just listen - they don't have this kind of synergy at work. I think the thing that we have is Mickey (Loomis). Before we had (former team president) Hugh (Weber). He gave us a lot of latitude to do some things and now Mickey has come along and done the same thing.''
The 42-year-old Demps has overhauled the club's roster since his arrival in 2010 and New Orleans has shown promise early this season with a roster comprised mostly of players age 25 or younger. Only two - Roger Mason Jr. and recently acquired Matt Carroll - are older, but Carroll has yet to report and could be bought out, given that the Hornets are focusing on getting experience for younger players like Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers, Brian Roberts and Xavier Henry in the back court. The Hornets are also hoping that guard Eric Gordon, now rehabilitating his right knee in Los Angeles, can return to the starting lineup by the end of December.
Demps did not confirm that the Hornets are trying to buy out Carroll, which would allow Carroll to sign with another team while saving the Hornets money. The general manager said the team had an agreement with Carroll excusing him from reporting to the club right away.
``We'll have a resolution on that in the coming days,'' Demps said. ``We're looking at a few options right now that I can't get into.''
Carroll, who is in the final year of a contact paying $3.5 million this season, was acquired in a deal that gave Charlotte Hakim Warrick, who has this year and a team-option year remaining on his deal paying $4 million per season.
With top overall draft choice Anthony Davis making immediate and significant contributions in the front court, the Hornets won three of their first six games heading into their game against the Thunder.
Demps acquired to other key contributors - forward Ryan Anderson and center Robin Lopez - through trades during the past offseason. He also found point guard Brian Roberts overseas and used a second-round pick on Darius Miller, who made the team and is seeing immediate action in a reserve role.
The one move that so far has caused the most consternation among the fan base is the decision to give Gordon a restricted free agent contract worth $58 million over four years by matching an offer sheet Gordon had signed with Phoenix. Gordon played in only nine games last season because of his nagging injury and club has struggled to determine when Gordon might be truly ready to play again.
Asked on Friday whether he could specify what the latest doctors' examinations revealed about Gordon's knee, he responded with a terse, ``No.''