While the season is less than a week away from being over for the Pelicans, Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon's year's are officially done as of today. The team announced that both players will miss the final four games of a season in which we've seen Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson & Jason Smith all suffer season ending injuries.
Gordon has missed the last 10 games with a left knee injury and will have surgery next week. He played in 64 games this season, which matches his career high for a season and averaged 15 points with 3 assists and 3 rebounds per game. Since coming to New Orleans, Gordon's points per game have gone down every year, and his max contract deal still has 2 more years remaining on it, unless, of course he decides to opt out in his final year.
On the other hand, Davis wowed spectators in his sophomore season, and has many analysts that cover the game believing that he is the heir to King James' throne as the best player in the NBA. Last week, back spasms started to hamper his play, and the team has now ultimately decided to shut 'er down with nothing to play for the rest of the way. Davis was examined by team physicians who made the determination that the injury will require 1-2 weeks of rest and rehabilitation.
AD may very well win the most improved player award this season as we saw his numbers jump dramatically from year one to year two. Davis averaged 21 points with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game this year. He carried the team the entire season as the ballclub dealt with a slew of injuries and thrived as a leader despite just turning 21 years old in March.
The Pelicans are doing the right thing by protecting their future. I know any fans that have tickets to the final 2 home games may disagree, but it just makes sense to rest your biggest asset when there is absolutely nothing to gain. Let's hope all the injury gris-gris surrounding this ballclub has run its course and doesn't make a return next season. With a healthy core-4 of Davis, Holiday, Anderson and Tyreke Evans all healthy, this team should be a lock for the playoffs and then eventually with a few more pieces… a legitimate title contender.
8 games remain in the Pelicans' season, and with the team being eliminated from postseason contention, I ask you… should Anthony Davis sit out the remainder of the way?
He really has nothing left to prove, as Davis has dazzled in his 2nd year in the NBA. The 21-year-old is averaging 21 points with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per contest. Even the national media has recognized that the future king of the NBA now resides here in New Orleans. Check out this article entitled Building the Brow.
I know sitting the superstar is far from what coach Monty Williams or Davis have in mind, though. Williams' philosophy is that if a player is healthy enough to play, he belongs in the lineup. Meanwhile, Davis is the type of guy who would lie about his status just so he could be in the game.
Normally, I would not be an advocate for giving a player an early vacation, but there is absolutely no benefit to continue to play Davis. And there are a few very good reasons to shut him down.
A.D. is playing on a sore left ankle currently. It's an injury that has given him some problems in his rookie year and forced him to miss a game in San Antonio this past Saturday. Why strain it any more this season and risk further damage? There is also a chance of suffering an even worse injury on top of that.
Did you see the elbow Davis took to the chin Monday night versus Sacramento? Luckily there was no serious damage; he just got his bell rung a bit.
So, you tell me… do I just sound like a "nervous Nelly," or is benching the face of the franchise the rest of the way with nothing left to play for an option the Pelicans should consider?
I can understand a penalty if the goal post was thrown off-kilter like Graham did last year in Atlanta, but to ban dunking all together just seems like the "No Fun League" is trying to remove emotion from the game.
Rumor has it that next year the NFL will try to outlaw high-fives. Kidding... maybe.
While the NFL free agency period has quieted down a bit following a fast and furious opening, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t important business to take care of, especially for the Saints.
The team needed a safety, and checked that off the to-do list in a big way by inking 3-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd to a 6 year deal. Great; but now what?
My top priority right now if I worked for the Saints would be to shore up the offensive line that protects “the franchise” Drew Brees. There were too many times this past season when Brees got rocked, definitely more than I’ve ever seen in the past. The numbers don’t lie either; he was sacked a career-high 37 times, and each one made the Who Dat Nation cringe and gasp.
Tackle Zach Strief and center Brian De La Puente are both free agents and still currently on the market. The buzz is that the Dolphins and Jets may take a look-see at Strief while the market for De La Puente has been rather tepid, with only the Giants having expressed interest.
I could see Strief retuning to the Saints, but feel like De La Peunte’s days in Black & Gold are done.
Some other o-line possibilities out on the open market right now are:
Tackle Donald Penn
He was released by Tampa after the Bucs signed free agent Anthony Collins. Penn has never missed a game, but his play seemed to take plunge last year. Still he is the top ranked tackle currently available.
Tackle Michael Oher
He is best known for being the subject of the book turned move “The Blindside”. Oher has spent the first 5 years of his career working on the right side of the Baltimore Ravens offensive line, but he has never been able to develop into the top-tier bookend they were hoping for.
Center Evan Dietrich-Smith
Dietrich-Smith appeared in all 16 games each of the past three seasons in Green Bay and split time between center and guard. He started all 16 this past season strictly at center and would definitely be an upgrade for the Saints. The big question though…is his price tag fairly reasonable?
When a loved one decides they need to stick up for you in the workplace, the results are NEVER good. Amid the talks Darren Sproles would be released by the Saints and then reports turned to that the running back was getting traded, Sproles wife Michel took to social media to express her frustration:
As for the latest on what is going on with the running back, he has been shipped off to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kind of a surprising move by the Black & Gold since Philly is in the NFC and a legitimate playoff contender. I guess at least the Saints don’t play the Eagles in the regular season this year.
In return, the Saints get a 5th round draft pick. It was originally owned by the New England Patriots and is the 157th overall selection. The Saints now currently own 7 draft picks in 2014.
The NFL free agency period opens today at 3pm, and while the Saints are fighting the salary cap, GM Mickey Loomis will still be active in the market. Don't expect the team to chase any big names, though, as they are still trying to hook their own big fish by penning a long-term deal with tight end Jimmy Graham.
Here are my main positons of need and some names the Saints could target. Click through to see their stats!
It appears from that tweet that Pierre Thomas is the 3rd player released by the Saints in the last 2 days. The list of players let go by the Black & Gold is really starting to hit a nerve with fans. Roman Harper, Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles and now PT!
Even the man the team is trying to re-sign to a big multi-year deal has chimed in. Jimmy Graham tweets:
Wow unbelievable. Shocked and disappointed on everything that's gone on this offseason.
The romance between Lance and the Saints is over as the team released the sure-handed wide receiver today. In 9 seasons while donning the Black & Gold, Moore caught 346 passes for 4,281 yards and 38 touchdowns. His production dropped off last season though as he missed 3 games with a hand injury and found the end-zone just twice.
The 30-year-old definitely still has gas left in the tank and should have no troubles finding a new home. The Who Dat Nation will no doubt find it odd to see Moore in a new uniform, but where could that be? Off the top of my head, five teams came to mind, but there are plenty. Sadly, two are in the NFC South. YIKES!
1: Detroit Lions
The Motown Cats make a ton of sense since former New Orleans quarterback coach Joe Lombardi was hired by them this offseason to be their new offensive coordinator. At his introductory press conference Lombardi said, “"There will be a lot of similarities to the Saints' playbook. You are going to see some difference, but the playbook that we are starting from is the Saints' playbook, so it will certainly be very similar."
Moore would not only provide Lions QB Matthew Stafford another target, but also help the rest of Detroit’s WR corp learn Lombardi’s offense.
2: Carolina Panthers
This would be a devastating punch in the gut to Saints fans. Seeing Moore in powder blue and black would certainly cause the Who Dat Nation to convulse or start dry-heaving. The fact is, though, that the Panthers need to surround QB Cam Newton with more sure-handed WRs and Moore fits the bill.
3: Washington Redskins
Besides Pierre Garcon, RG3 doesn’t really have any other receiving threats. The ‘Skins will look to bounce back this season after a dismal 2013 and keeping their franchise QB happy is priority numero uno. Getting a sure-handed #2 receiver though is just one of many needs for this ballclub.
4: Kansas City Chiefs
Getting Moore in Andy Reid’s offense seems like a perfect fit to me, and the Chiefs are lacking big time at WR. Their leading receiver last season was RB Jamal Charles and pairing Dwayne Bowe and Lance Moore up could wind up boosting both wideouts’ numbers.
5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Landing in Tampa would not be as much of a blow as going to Carolina, but it would still wound Saints fans since they’d have to see Moore in those new God-awful Bucs uniforms twice a year. I believe the Buccaneers made the right choice hiring Lovie Smith to be their new head coach, and this franchise could be a legitimate threat in the division next year. Moore would instantly upgrade an offense that finished dead last year in passing yards in 2013.