NEW ORLEANS — When the Hornets extended general manager Dell Demps on Friday morning, the move was recognition that the franchise is moving in the right direction.
Friday night, coach Monty Williams joked that the move showed one other thing about those running the now locally-owned franchise.
“They’re certainly risk-takers giving us extensions the way they have,” Williams said.
But both Williams and Demps agreed on one thing – building a champion is the plan’s goal.
“We want to achieve sustained success,” Demps said. “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.”
“Dell has a bright future ahead as the GM of our team and Mr. (Tom) Benson and I couldn’t be more impressed with the track this team is on and are excited about the future,” Hornets Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis said in a statement. “He has helped shape this organization with the current team of young, talented players and we look forward to seeing the growth of the franchise during this exciting time for the franchise.”
Demps originally was hired by the Hornets in July 2010. In that time, he has guided the rebuilding of the team. In July 2011, he facilitated a blockbuster trade that sent point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and an unprotected draft pick.
While Gordon has played in fewer than 15 games for the Hornets, Aminu is becoming a key contributor this season.
Still, Demps oversaw this past year’s draft, which netted Anthony Davis with the No. 1 overall pick and guard Austin Rivers with the No. 10 pick, which came as part of the Paul trade.
The Hornets’ nucleus this year of players younger than 25, a setup that the franchise is hoping leads to future success on the court.
Demps and Williams have a good working relationship, one that will be ongoing for at least the near future.
“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 – our goal is to build a champion,” Williams said. “That doesn’t mean we agree all the time. We fight a lot. But to be hand-in-hand in this capacity is something a lot of teams don’t have.”