By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The inability to deliver on the trade request made by Anthony Davis to move him out of town by last week’s deadline has cost Dell Demps his job, as the New Orleans Pelicans officially fired the nine-year general manager on Friday.
“We will immediately begin the process of restructuring our basketball operations department,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, who expressed her own frustrations with the Davis situation and ‘outside forces’ trying to force the Pelicans in the wrong direction, said. “This will include a comprehensive, but confidential, search aided by outside consultants to identify a new leader of our basketball operations, directly reporting to me.”
And according to Fletcher Mackel of NBC New Orleans, Benson (and vice president Mickey Loomis) could see their confidential search include Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren.
One name that will make the rounds in New Orleans regarding the @PelicansNBA GM job.— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) February 15, 2019
And someone who’s sure to impress Owner Gayle Benson and VP Mickey Loomis.
Celtics asst. GM Mike Zarren.
But given he’s passed on Sixers job (and others) he’s an extreme long shot for NOLA.
Zarren, who has been with the Celtics for almost 15 years now, is since considered Danny Ainge’s right-hand man, and has been a massive part of Boston’s most recent run given his status as the team’s salary cap and analytics expert. This is not the first time that Zarren has been eyed by another organization, as he was linked to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to their hiring of Elton Brand.
But Zarren’s potential involvement with the Pelicans — if he is indeed offered and takes the job with the Pelicans — would certainly throw a wrinkle in the Celtics’ summertime plans to make a serious pitch for Davis.
First of all, Zarren is the man that’s perhaps most hip to Ainge’s swindling. Hell, he’s been a major part of it, as many have been quick to credit Zarren for many of Boston’s moves, including the trade with Philadelphia that saw the Celtics straight-up steal an extra first-round pick from the Sixers so Philly could draft Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall in 2017. There’s also the fact that Zarren knows the Green in and out, meaning he would know exactly who and what to ask for in trade talks with the Celtics, and obviously wouldn’t simply do his mentor a favor as his first big move on the job.
In other words, the Celtics would seem unlikely to escape a potential Ainge-and-Zarren trade without losing promising scorer Jayson Tatum and/or some of the Celtics’ most prized first-round picks.
Fortunately for Ainge and the rest of the C’s front office braintrust, Zarren is not the only name to come out of today, as ESPN has reported that ex-Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is expected to be a name of interest to the Pelicans.