Dig Baton Rouge

The Man in Charge

By Casey Gisclair

Mickey Loomis is about to be working a slew of 20-hour days. The dude’s workload will be exhausting. As we type it all out and break it down in this column, it sort of makes you heavy-eyed just thinking about it.

Loomis is the only executive in the major sports world that is a caretaker for not one, but two pro sports franchises – both in different leagues in the landscape.

Loomis, of course, is the General Manager of the Saints – the man staked with stocking the team’s rosters and managing its salary cap. But many don’t realize that he’s also a top executive for the Pelicans, as well – sitting above both General Manager Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams on the food chain as the guy who sort-of creates the personnel team within the organization.

Both the Saints and Pels are at peak decision-making times, and each is at a crossroads in terms of the future and the teams’ competitiveness. Loomis’ brainpower is about to be put to the test in a way it’s never been before.

About 80 percent of Loomis’ workload is with the Saints – the team responsible for creating his name within the business.

In the coming weeks, the Saints have to finalize any free agent plans they may have, as well as completing the NFL Draft. The Black and Gold have plenty of needs, but fortunately they also have a ton of picks to play with.

If Loomis can get the Saints a quality player at receiver, linebacker and defensive back in the draft, New Orleans will be in a very good position to rebound from last year’s disaster. But if the Saints have a draft that’s a repeat of the team’s 2014 rookie class, the Black and Gold are in big, big trouble.

That draft class was arguably the worst in the entire NFL, easily the worst in Loomis’ tenure as general manager.

History shows that he doesn’t get ‘em wrong too often, so he’s due for a few aces this next go-round. We’ll bank on that happened, because history tells us not to bet against Loomis’ NFL savvy.

But over on the NBA side, things are just as interesting.

I think everyone knows by now that the Pels are a penny stock that is about to boom to NBA royalty. Anthony Davis is too good and the roster Demps has placed around the superstar isn’t so bad, either. New Orleans is the favorite to clinch that No. 8 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference, which would be a major step forward for the franchise that’s struggled to find firm footing since moving to the city.

But the big decisions for New Orleans all pertain to the future and who will or will not be coaching the team.

Simply put, Loomis has to keep a hand on the pulse of the Pels to determine when is the right time to pull the plug on the fiasco that is Monty Williams as head coach.

Every, single NBA talking head agrees that the guy is wrong for the job, but yet he remains in the big seat – year after year after year.

Of course, it’s a hard stance to take when you fire a head coach that possibly reaches the playoffs for the first time. But in business, sometimes the toughest moves are those that end up being the best for your organization.

My biggest beef isn’t against Monty, but rather is more geared toward what is out there to be had. With Anthony Davis on your roster, you have a puncher’s chance to get anyone in the world to come and coach your team. Literally anyone.

There are whispers about John Calipari. Would he come? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s worth a shot.

There are talks that Tom Thibodeau will be gone in Chicago. Would he come? I’d tend to think so.

Or what about a guy like Mike Malone, who had the Sacramento Kings humming before management messed it all up and fired him for no reason?

Or even a recycled name like Jeff Van Gundy?

We’ll never know until the team rolls the dice and moves past the mediocrity it has now. Golden State had an average coach last season. They hired a great one this offseason and jumped from a good team to the best in the NBA.

The Pels can make a similar move if they play their cards right.

Loomis won’t be sleeping much in the coming weeks, but in Mickey we trust.

There aren’t many guys who can pull the superman acts that he’s authored in years past.


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