Victor Schiro, New Orleans’ mayor of a half century ago, will still be remembered 50 years from now for saying in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy, “Don’t believe any false rumors unless they come from me.”
Too bad Ole Vic isn’t still around to disseminate disinformation about the Pelicans. Things would be a lot livelier on Airline Highway, where the team’s new training facility is nearing completion.
Unfortunately, Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps isn’t one to give out much, true or false, especially during with the draft a day away.
“Thanks everybody for coming today,” Demps began his 15-minute pre-draft media availability on Tuesday. “But I have to tell you, I have my poker face on.
“As they say, loose lips sink ships.”
And from then on, Demps’ iron will was enough to have saved the Titanic.
“I don’t like to speculate or reveal trade talks or conversations that I’ve had,” Demps said at one point. “That’s not a good thing to do.”
His reticence shouldn’t be surprising. Demps has a PhD in tight-lippedness from San Antonio Spurs University, where he studied under Professor Gregg Popovich for five years as the team’s director of pro player personnel.
You can’t do better than that.
“The best teams at keeping their true intentions to themselves all have ties to the Spurs,” ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford said Tuesday. “They’re the CIA of the NBA.
“It’s not they put out a lot of smokescreens. They just don’t tell anybody anything.”
So unless you’re Carrie Mathison of Homeland, good luck.
Still, at least one credible rumor involving the Pelicans has gotten around this week.
Dallas is known to be looking to unload its first round pick — No. 13 overall — to help open up salary cap space for free agency and is reportedly willing to let it go along with veteran small forward Shawn Marion and his $9.3 million cap figure in exchange for a future No. 1.
At 34, Marion would bring a veteran presence to a team that has little and a defensive mindset Pelicans coach Monty Williams covets. With the No. 13 pick, the Pelicans could take a flyer on a foreign player like Sergey Karasev, a small forward from Russia who may not be ready to play right away.
Or they could package the pick with their own No. 6 to deal with Washington for the player they covet most — small forward Otto Porter of Georgetown — and allow him to mature alongside Marion.
See how easy that was?
Or let me put forth my own idea. How about the Pelicans sending Austin Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 19 pick and point guard Eric Bledsoe, who’s known to be available?
That way Rivers could play for his dad, newly named Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers, and be brought along as a backup to Chris Paul; while the Pelicans would improve themselves at the point along with picking up another No. 1. This one could be used for a foreign player who could be stashed overseas for a year.
By the time you read this, could Rivers to the Clippers, Part Deux, will be part of the blogosphere? It’s a thought.
But rumors, either about the draft or trades, Ford points out, are what make the NBA fun.
Unlike the staid NFL where two-team deals involving only picks make up 90 percent of the transactions, NBA teams come up with all sorts of exotic swaps, Doc Rivers to the Clippers being the latest example.
“People are always interested in transactions and seeing their team get better,” Ford said. “It gives them hope.”
But between now and Thursday night, just don’t expect any big revelations about the Pelicans’ true intentions.
So what will they do Thursday? You’re guess is as good as mine.
Where’s Edward Snowden when you really need him?