Something is going to change for the Pelicans.
A report Tuesday indicated that change might come in the form of a trade. Before that, coach Alvin Gentry said Monday that he’ll make rotation changes if that’s what it takes to jump-start his 5-16 team.
New Orleans has to play harder and compete more consistently, Gentry said, if it hopes to have “any semblance of getting back into a playoff race or anything.”
“Some kind of way, I’ve got to find guys that are going to do that,” Gentry said after a 111-93 loss to the Celtics. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care the name on the back of the jerseys. I’m just going to play people that play hard.”
Effort is a lingering and critical issue, and star forward Anthony Davis said Monday that he’s frustrated to have to discuss the topic this far into the season. The Pelicans, Davis said, too frequently are “just not competing.”
“That’s the bottom line,” Davis said. “We all got to come out and play desperate. We’re not 22-0 or whatever. We got a losing record. We’re playing bad. We’re not winning games. We got to come out and play desperate every night.”
But the Pelicans might be seeking more than an attitude adjustment.
Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that New Orleans has interest in acquiring Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris and that the Pelicans have a “willingness to part” with forward Ryan Anderson — particularly if Anderson, a free agent this offseason, doesn’t show an interest in signing a new contract.
Last week, the Indianapolis Star reported that the Pelicans were among potential trade partners with the Indiana Pacers for small forward Solomon Hill.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have issues to resolve with the current roster.
One that arose in the Boston game: Tyreke Evans’ adjustment to Gentry’s offense.
Evans, who missed the first 17 games of the season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October, has played in the Pelicans’ past four games.
On Sunday, Gentry said the coaching staff was working with Evans to focus on giving up the ball early in the offense to facilitate ball movement.
“The thing that we’re trying to make (Evans) understand is that, when he gives it up, we’re going to give it back to him,” Gentry said.
But after a scoreless 17 minutes against the Celtics in which he was 0-for-5 from the floor and finished with three assists and five turnovers, Evans said trying to play that way “kind of messed my rhythm up a little bit” and that he didn’t put pressure on the Celtics defense by looking to move the ball early.
“I started to look to pass first,” Evans said. “That’s when it kind of went south on me, instead of just doing what I do, and that’s attack; and if I see somebody open, find them. ... I just got to do a better job with that.”
Asked what Evans needs to do to adjust, Gentry said, “We’ll work on it, and we’ll make it work.”
It’s hardly the only area where the Pelicans need a fix.
The team has wins against title contenders San Antonio and Cleveland but has lost five of its past six games. A season after reaching the playoffs, New Orleans is five games out of a playoff spot and only two games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the worst record in the Western Conference.
“We’re a much better team than what we’re showing,” Davis said. “We showed what type of team we can be. We just got to come out and do it every night. Everybody’s got to look in the mirror — players, everybody — and we got to decide what kind of team we want to be.”