With their season now over after being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, the New Orleans Pelicans now have some interesting decisions to make in the offseason.
Their immediate focus will be on some of their key players who are set to enter free agency.
DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo - two players who played a huge role in their success this year - will hit the open market in July.
Until an Achilles injury ended his campaign, Cousins was enjoying arguably his best season in the league and had formed a devastating partnership with Anthony Davis in the frontcourt.
Rondo picked up his form once the All-Star center went down and was an influential presence in the playoffs and was part of an impressive trio alongside AD and Jrue Holiday.
Re-signing the pair will be an expensive outlay for the Pelicans but general manager Dell Demps says they'd love to keep them in New Orleans if it's possible.
"In a perfect world, we'd like to bring DeMarcus and Rondo back," Demps told reporters. "But sometimes things happen that you can't control in free agency. In a perfect world, we'd like to have [Cousins] and Rondo back."
Despite suffering a long-term injury that is likely to keep him sidelined for much of next season, Boogie is still expected to seek a max contract this summer.
If the Pels choose to give in to his demands, they could potentially offer the 27-year-old a five-year deal worth up to $175 million.
His talent is unquestionable but signing the big man to a huge deal of that kind while he's recovering from a major injury would represent a huge risk for the organisation.
Demps acknowledges that it'll be even tougher for a player of Cousins' size to come back from this type of injury but he has every faith in the All-Star.
"The uncertainty is something that's the elephant in the room," Demps said. "Just knowing him and his competitive spirit and his work ethic -- we've seen guys that have recovered from this injury. It does change things, but I'm betting on DeMarcus."
In Rondo's case, he signed a one-year deal last summer and is hoping to settle somewhere after playing for four teams in the last four years.
He resembled something like his old self with the Pelicans and struck up a great relationship with head coach Alvin Gentry, which can't be said about his past coaches on other teams.
Demps confirmed that they have had talks to bring him back and the 32-year-old seems optimistic enough about remaining in the Big Easy.
"We'll see how it goes," Rondo said of his free agency, per NOLA.com. "I love this group of guys. It's a group of good guys. I love playing for coach (Alvin) Gentry. We'll see how it goes. ... This group of guys is special."
It'll be a decisive couple of months ahead for the Pelicans front office which will shape their immediate future.
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