The New Orleans Pelicans are movin' on up.
With a just-finished, state-of-the-art practice facility that cost new owner Tom Benson a cool $15 million, Anthony Davis and Co. are already seeing the perks of first-class ownership. The days of worrying about franchise relocation are over; Benson's $338 million check to the league provided the stability that the team had been lacking for years, per Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune.
Signs of that stability are particularly evident in the Pellies' first-class practice digs.
The paint had barely dried on the slick new logo before the Pelicans allowed media in for a tour.
Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, has to be pleased with the first big project of his ownership tenure.
Some might make the observation that the Pelicans are going to need at least this many basketballs in order to keep the high-usage trio of Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon happy this season.
But this isn't a time for sarcastic criticism of the team's construction. Let's try to keep things celebratory, shall we?
Look, the film room!
As you can see, hydration will be very important during the Pelicans' video sessions. Each chair is equipped with two cup holders.
General manager Dell Demps lead visitors through part of the weight room and onto what appears to be a dance floor, complete with a full-size mirror. It's unclear whether the Pelicans will opt for jazz, tap or ballet lessons at this point, but they're equipped for all three.
Of course, there are two full courts in the building. Gym rats all over the world are salivating as we speak.
And what's a practice facility without some creature comforts? Check out the comfy new locker rooms.
Also, don't forget the hot tubs. Relaxation is an important part of rehab, though the Pelicans probably hope none of their players will need to use these things.
Just to give an idea of how far the Pelicans have come, here's how the facility looked in its early stages:
And this is the finished product:
Yep, we're on the cusp of a new era in New Orleans. Holiday and Evans are on board, Davis is bulked-up and the rest of the roster looks primed to make a run at a playoff spot. The terrific new complex is going to immediately help the Pelicans' current players feel like they're part of a top-tier organization.
Just as importantly, though, potential free agents are going to see the new digs as a major selling point for the franchise.
Ultimately, the work the Pelicans do inside their new facility will determine how good they are on the court this season. But at the very least, we now know that the organization is committed to building something great.
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