The Pelicans are following the path of the Saints.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to The Advocate that the New Orleans Pelicans will host training camp at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the same resort, which hosted the Saints for the past two summers.
However, NBA training camp is a significantly shorter process than its NFL counterpart, with less than a week of closed practices to be held before opening the preseason schedule.
The Greenbrier doesn’t currently contain a basketball facility, but sources said the long-term plan is to add courts and goals into the indoor tennis structure. It’s not certain if that will be ready for this upcoming camp.
Although it’s a short stint, going on the road for the first week of practice does allow for a bonding experience, and new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry utilized that opportunity when he led the Phoenix Suns, taking the team to San Diego during his first training camp in 2010, then moving to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix during the 2011 lockout season, before going back to San Diego in 2012.
Meanwhile, during former coach Monty Williams’ five-year tenure, the team held training camp at its New Orleans facility.
The Saints administration and coach Sean Payton have often praised The Greenbrier for their setup, which spurred Gentry and general manager Dell Demps to look at the property last week.
“There are a lot of people who like The Greenbrier,” said Robert Harris, the vice president of sports and recreation for The Greenbrier. “It’s a good place to stay focused, and the Saints being here has opened the doors of the great things we have here and what we can do.”
Doug Miller, a former executive director of football communications for the Saints, is now director of marketing for The Greenbrier and is helping to engineer the potential deal.
“Our owner believes in this area and is doing whatever he can to draw, not just sports teams, but other activities,” Harris said “You might have to commute from our place 15 or 20 minutes, but in a metropolitan area you might have to catch a cab that would take the same time. And this is a safe, beautiful area with so much potential.”