Metairie, La. -- The Pelicans made it all the way to the second round of the NBA Playoffs, but reached the end of the line on Tuesday, in game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.
"I thought we took a huge step this year from the standpoint of being able to be in the playoffs and play at a real high level," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "You look at what AD's done in the playoffs, the numbers he's put-up have been incredible and I don't see that ever changing. We've just got to continue to try to add a piece here or there, play at a little bit higher level and we feel like we can compete."
The team proved to be more resilient than expected after DeMarcus Cousins suffered his season-ended Achilles injury, being able to regroup and find their groove down the stretch. They fought to make the post-season, then swept their way past third-seeded Portland. They made national headlines for exceeding many people's expectations. Now on the heels of their best season in years, there's the question of where do we go from here, and also what's the future of Boogie in New Orleans?
"We want DeMarcus back on our team," Gentry said. "I think everybody's said that. Obviously there's a lot of things in free agency that you have no control over. But if you're asking me if we want DeMarcus back on our team-- yes, we want him back on our team."
"In a perfect world, we'd like to have him and Rondo back and then we also still want to add to our team," said Pelicans General Manager, Dell Demps. "We want to build off of this season but we want to grow. We don't want to look backward. We want to keep going forward. The excitement around the city, the effort from the players and the coaches and everyone, it just motivates us to say 'Hey how high can we go?' And we're going to maximize it. We're going to reach for it."
Cousins and Rondo were among the nucleus of players both Gentry and Demps said they wanted to build around-- in addition to of course Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday at the center of it.
"That's one of the things that I think Golden State has done -- just have consistency in the core group of players," Gentry said. "If you can keep the core of your team together then just the familiarity with what you're doing -- having another year of being in a system where you're running the same thing and doing the same thing defensively, I think it does nothing but help the situation."