Pelicans respond to former commissioner David Stern calling Dell Demps a 'lousy' GM

The Pelicans do not agree with David Stern’s assessment of Dell Demps’ ability as a GM.

Stern called Demps “a lousy general manager” in a recent in-depth interview with Sports Illustrated.

“We are very disappointed to read the inappropriate and inaccurate comments from the former NBA Commissioner regarding the New Orleans Pelicans,” the team wrote in a statement. “Our organization has the utmost confidence in our General Manager, Dell Demps. He is a part of our family, the NBA family. We are excited about the direction of our team, the 3-0 start to the season, building on the success of the 2017/18 playoffs. Finally, our organization is excited and proud to be part of the NBA with the progressive and innovative leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.”

Stern’s comments came when he was talking about his veto of a three-way trade involving the Hornets (who are now the Pelicans), Lakers and the Rockets in 2011. The deal would have sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles and given the Pelicans Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick from the Knicks. The Rockets would have received Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Stern, who was New Orleans owner’s rep at the time as the team was without ownership, vetoed the deal and two days later approved one which sent Paul and two future second-round picks to the Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected first round pick in the 2012 draft.

“I did it because I was protecting the then-Hornets,” Stern said of the 2011 veto. “… To this day, everyone always asks me, ‘Well why did you keep Chris Paul from going to the Lakers?’ I didn’t keep him. I didn’t approve the trade. No team sells or trades a future Hall of Famer without the owner signing off, and I was the owner’s rep.”