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Pelicans remain focused on bright future

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) dunks the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) dunks the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)(KALB)
Published: May. 20, 2020 at 9:29 PM CDT
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The goal is obviously to make the postseason. But remember, when the Pelicans began this season, the long-term plan was to raise this young team the right way. So whatever the NBA season looks like if it returns, executive vice president David Griffn says they'll be happy to play, period.

“I think we have a lot of reason to be optimistic, and we feel like we have a very bright future,” says Griffin. "If they give us a condensed number of games to play out, hopefully we can find a way to capture a playoff spot. That would be great.z'

But should the worst happen and the league be unable to resume, or the Pelicans be unable to make the playoffs, they'd immediately go into off-season mode. The focus there, first and foremost, should be re-signing Brandon Ingram. Both sides have expressed plenty of interest in their leading scorer remaining in the Big Easy. But with the financial hit that the league is taking due to its suspension, a lower salary cap might make things a little more interesting for NBA front offices everywhere.

“I think what gives us a little bit of an advantage in that uncertain situation is our youth,” says Griffin. “We’ve got a situation where we’re growing a very young, dynamic team, and time, to some degree, is on our side. So what we really need to do is keep the young group together as much as possible. From a salary cap standpoint, because many of our key players are on rookie scale, we’re less dependent upon the cap going down than teams that are built around veterans free agents on an ongoing basis.”

Still, you hope to get those young players on the floor together as much as possible to continue building chemistry. Unfortunately right now, we’re all still playing the waiting game, in that regard, with a decision on whether or not the NBA season will resume likely not coming until early June.

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