Secret to his success? Pelicans' David Griffin struck quickly with Anthony Davis trade

Published 2: 39 p.m. ET June (************************************************************************************), respectively 2019 | Upgraded 2: 53 p.m. ET June (************************************************************************************), 2019

SportsPulse: It’s the trade we have all been waiting for and one that is going to form this offseason as well as the NBA landscape for years to come. It also makes the Lakers an immediate competitor in the West.

David Griffin spanned two seasons for the perfect job.

After the Cleveland Cavaliers chose not to deliver Griffin back as general director following the 2016-17 year, he worked as an NBA TV and radio analyst and was good in it. But coming back to the NBA was never far from his thoughts.

After New Orleans fired GM Dell Demps in the All-Star break, an opportunity opened for Griffin to get back into the league. He created great respect for Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, appreciates the cultural and historical importance of the city — he and his wife, Meredith, are foods connoisseurs and invested his time at California wine country the past two years — and saw an chance to create something special with all the Pelicans, beginning with Anthony Davis.

Either Griffin would convince Davis to remain (highly unlikely) or else he’d trade him for a boatload of resources which could hasten New Orleans’ rebuild.

By luck of a ping-pong lure and a month in to Griffin’s tenure as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicansthey won the draft lottery and the right to draft Zion Williamson.

And here we are now. Greater than 48 hours after the NBA Finals ended, Griffin traded Davis into the Lakers to get Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round selections, for example, No. 4 pick in this year’s draft and also a first-round selection probably in 2022, year the NBA is predicted to get rid of the one-and-done principle and permit high school gamers to enter the draft. Meaning double the talent in that draft and the capacity to find a great lottery-type player no matter where the selection is at the very first round.

To be clear, it is not like New Orleans gave up nothing for something. Davis is a All-Star rather than yet in his prime.

However, for certain, it’s an impressive and enormous haul and Griffin augmented his return, setting up New Orleans up to the long- and short-term.

Next season, the Pelicans may have a roster that contains Williamson, Ingram, Ball, Hart, the No. 4 pick — or all Griffin trades for this select, which will be an opportunity — Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill and possibly Julius Randle plus whomever Griffin signs in free agency.

The Pelicans have a team that will be talented, fun to see and marketable — crucial factors when it comes to making the playoffs, placing fans in the seats and also creating lucrative partnerships.


It’s been a successful two months on the job for Griffin. He hired Trajan Langdon as overall director, snagged highly regarded trainer Aaron Nelson from the Phoenix Suns and appointed him vice president of player care and performance and earned former WNBA great Swin Cash as vice president of basketball operations and team development.

The Pelicans have a experienced coach in Alvin Gentry who must shortly have his best opportunity to create something special with New Orleans.

Since the Pelicans drafted Davis in 2012, they’ve been attempting to break through at the Western Convention. They dropped in the first round in 2015 and realized that the conference semifinals in 2018 but also missed the playoffs at 2016, 2017 and 2019. Injuries played a huge part of that, along with the Pelicans never were able to maximize what they needed. Then, Davis desired out.

The situation turned cluttered for the Pelicans along with the Lakers after they functioned a trade in the February deadline and neglected. Demps, who was steadfast in maintaining Davis, lost his job. Magic Johnson eventually quit as president of basketball operations for the Lakers. Los Angeles GM Rob Pelinka chose a public relations beating. The Lakers looked just like a bumbling business, along with the Pelicans looked excruciating.

Griffin arrived, evaluated the situation and got to work.

The Pelicans appear good on paper and need to make it operate on the courtroom. However there aren’t many teams who set up for the next seven seasons and outside such as the Pelicans.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Leave a Reply