David Griffin has agreed to a deal to become the Execut…

2 years ago via ESPN
David Griffin has agreed to a deal to become the Executive VP of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told ESPN on Friday. The immediate mandate for Griffin is unmistakable: Navigate a trade of All-NBA star Anthony Davis that’ll shape the future of the franchise. Griffin will have full control of basketball operations, league sources said.

More on Anthony Davis Trade

Adrian Wojnarowski: Pelicans and David Griffin have an agreement in principle, league sources tell ESPN. Griffin will take over the franchise and now oversee the trade process for Anthony Davis.
Nick Friedell: Anthony Davis on if he thinks he'll get traded this summer: "It's hard to say that when they're looking for a GM. Not sure what the new GM is thinking or what they plan to do but as soon as the Pelicans appoint a GM then those questions will definitely be asked."
Nick Friedell: Davis is walking around Pels facility with a bunch of his jerseys and passing them out to people. He just gave one to Jrue Holiday as Holiday spoke to media. AD: Say good things about me. Holiday: Always, bruh. I said you wasn't leaving. Media chuckles. AD barely breaks stride
Davis formally requested to be traded in late January, and is expected to be dealt this summer. The fallout from Davis’ decision, and the Pelicans’ handling of the issue at the deadline, contributed to the firing of New Orleans GM Dell Demps, and the shocking resignation of Lakers president Magic Johnson on Tuesday night. According to Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, the ordeal traces back to “bad advice” given to Davis. “I think he’s a great kid. I think he’s a very good kid. I think he’s a solid guy….. I think he got some bad advice. If you want me to tell the truth…. I’ll leave it at that. But there’s nothing wrong with AD. He’s a good solid guy with good character. That’s the way I feel.”
Nick Friedell: Gentry on Davis: "I think he's a great kid. I think he's a very good kid. I think he's a solid guy ... I think he got some bad advice." How so? "I'll leave it at that. But there's nothing wrong with AD. He's a good solid guy with good character. That's the way I feel."
Ryan Ward: Magic Johnson on if Anthony Davis situation played into resignation: "No. That had nothing to do with it. We want to improve the team. That's what my job is to do, and then you guys made it like, 'Oh, the young guys..."
The Lakers will now turn their attention to an offseason in which they are expected to revisit trade options for Davis, while also chasing top targets in free agency – as unlikely as it is that Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will come, according to a league source who believes the Lakers will be second or third on those players’ lists. The fear that the Lakers could strike out with their top targets has already led to some message massaging. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James told The Athletic. The Lakers could build a team of complementary pieces better suited for James, like Boston’s Marcus Morris or Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, and fare better than they did this season. But it would run counter to Johnson’s stated philosophy. After all, on a World Series broadcast last fall, Johnson declared, “I’m going to get another superstar next summer!”
Do they go back to the well with AD again given Ingram’s health situation? Brian Windhorst: I think it’s only responsible if they do. This is one thing I don’t quite understand. When Jeanie Buss called it fake news or whatever, I understand that it caused some problems in the chemistry of the team.
Brian Windhorst: Do I love their chances? I do not. Because the prime asset they could offer is Brandon Ingram and Ingram has had a very unfortunate thing happen and there’s just a lot of uncertainty there. I don’t like their chances of pulling it off but they’ve got to go back to the Well.
"Not many of these wings or point guards are going to want to partner with LeBron," said an assistant GM. "LeBron's best chance at getting another star with him is going to be Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, the bigs."
Golden State Warriors center and former member of the New Orleans Pelicans DeMarcus Cousins knew star big man Anthony Davis was going to request a trade from the Pelicans. Cousins says after all the “goofy junk that went down” last summer with him and the franchise during free agency, he knew Davis was going to ask out of New Orleans:
Kobe Bryant publicly endorsed trading the Los Angeles Lakers' young players for Anthony Davis. The Lakers had included Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis. "Kuzma, Lonzo, Ingram ... Are all three better than Anthony Davis? No no!. Ciao! Bye! "Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not just now but in history. What are we talking about? If you can acquire Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, agree. We have three players who are very young and who work hard. They are intelligent and must be developed. But if you can acquire Anthony Davis ... yes!"
The Lakers are going to miss the playoffs again. Will they figure it out this summer? Kobe Bryant: I feel like they’re in a position where they have two pathways that they can take. Both will work out just fine. But they’re both just different decisions, right? And what do you do with some of the young pieces that you have? Do you trade them, or do you keep them and allow them to develop? Either way will be fine. One will be a little faster than others in terms of fast-tracking and players you bring in to play with LeBron. Other may be a little slower in developing. May be. But they’re in a really good position. This season has been tough, but you know listen, they were playing well and then they got hit with a bunch of injuries in rapid succession and things happen sometimes. But they’ll be back next year.
Do you think the Anthony Davis situation misled the franchise and the players? Kobe Bryant: “I say no. [Kyle] Kuzma, Lonzo [Ball], [Brandon] Ingram… are the three of them better than Anthony Davis? No! Ciao! Bye! Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not currently, in history. What are we talking about? If you can trade for Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, alright. We have three players who are very young and work hard. They’re smart and they have to develop. But if you can trade for Anthony Davis… yes!”
They still have Davis and will look to trade him this summer. He’ll become a free agent in 2020, but they control where he’ll spend next season. Marc J. Spears on ESPN, filming in Los Angeles: "I have been told that there’s no way Anthony Davis is coming here, through the Pelicans." ... "They’re just not going to do it."
Michael Wilbon confirmed he heard the same. Maybe the Pelicans really believe they’ll keep Davis from Los Angeles no matter what. And maybe they’ll be that stubborn. But a lot will change before New Orleans trades Davis.
Jayson Tatum on whether the Anthony Davis trade talks between New Orleans and Boston last month affected his game… (The two teams can’t do a deal until this summer, but are known to have had preliminary talks that included the possibility of Tatum being included). “Nah, because I just love to play basketball. I’ll play for whoever wants me, and that organization. You know, this is a business, and I understand that it’s not always personal. I’m kind of mature for my age, I understood. I’ve been in this business for a long time, so if it happened it happened, if it didn’t then my job was to just go play basketball.
Something like the opposite has happened. Parceling out blame is tricky. LeBron is so powerful that separating him from any part of an organization is impossible. The midseason gambit to acquire Anthony Davis almost certainly doesn't happen, or become so public, without at least LeBron's tacit go-ahead. Those talks sapped morale, sources say. Ditto for Magic Johnson's post-deadline lecture about treating the Lakers' young players "like babies." LeBron's eye-rolling on-court scoldings, a staple whenever he feels things sinking, did nothing to reverse any of that. Unbecoming, but not new.
Here is what we do know. The Lakers made several aggressive offers to New Orleans involving all of their core young players of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. The Pelicans had no intent to trade Davis before the offseason, however, especially not to the Lakers, league sources said. The NBA is a business, however, and these conversations involving the Lakers’ talented young core was warranted, whether they were taken personally or not.
It is possible Buss was not made aware of every aspect of the play-by-play as trade talks developed. Throughout the two-week saga stemming from Davis’ trade request, the Pelicans became frustrated about how public the Lakers-initiated discussions had become. “We get off the phone with (the Lakers), and a minute later, offers are out there,” one Pelicans source with direct knowledge of discussions told The Athletic.
Yet, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the real root of the comments was much more nuanced it might have appeared. From Jeanie on down, there is a growing belief that rival teams like New Orleans have gone to great lengths to do the kind of subversive damage that is nearly impossible to prove. Johnson himself has said that he doesn’t believe the Pelicans negotiated in good faith, and it certainly was unique to see trade packages with remarkable specificity being reported throughout the process.
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who requested a trade earlier this season, said on LeBron James' HBO show that he's asserting a greater degree of control over his career. "All the media coverage [is] around me, and now I'm getting a chance to take over my career and say what I want to say and do what I want to do," Davis said on an episode of "The Shop with LeBron James" that aired on HBO on Friday. "So now you see everybody [saying], 'All right, I see AD changing.' Everybody's telling me, 'You're growing up. It's about time to take care of your business, take care of your career.' So now, as a player, as the CEO of my own business, I've got the power. I'm doing what I want to do and not what somebody tells me to do."
Davis, who can become a free agent in 2020, said the uncertainty in the aftermath of his trade demand has been challenging. "It is tough because you just don't know. I don't know," he said. "I have one year left on contract, so I'm not sure what they're gonna do. Obviously, I stated my intentions. But I did that this year and they [said], 'No, we're going to keep you here.' So for me, it's just not knowing what's going to happen."
The Celtics are playing to win it all — but they are also focusing on winning in June and July, too. Around the NBA’s Feb. 7th trade deadline, Boston made their intentions clear to the New Orleans Pelicans surrounding their pursuit of All-NBA star Anthony Davis after the season, league sources told The Athletic: Everyone can be available.
Chris Haynes on where Anthony Davis will be to start the 2019-20 season: "I'm going to go with the Lakers. That's my prediction: I think he starts next season with the Lakers… If he maintains the stance that he's not doing Boston [long-term] – and that's with or without Kyrie [Irving] – I think LA has the best package. We may have to wait and see about New York because if they get the No. 1 overall pick, they could be in the game as well. But I think, at the end of the day, he'll end up in LA.”
"The Celtics, I'm told, are still not a long-term destination for him in his mind." - @ShamsCharania has the latest on the Anthony Davis trade rumors.
If anyone understands what Anthony Davis is thinking, asking for a trade out of New Orleans with nearly 1 1/2 seasons left on his contract, it's Abdul-Jabbar. His trade request came with two years left on his contract in Milwaukee. Eventually, he got his wish in the summer that followed his ask and got traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. "I think that the players have power because they have value," Abdul-Jabbar said. "The players that teams know that they can win with are going to be in a position to dictate what they want to do."
Again, the original information regarding Davis, the Celtics and Irving came from people close to Davis. And on Saturday, twice, Davis said, “I never said Boston wasn’t on my list.” It’s fair to wonder, then, whether Davis’ thoughts on Irving’s likelihood of re-signing with the Celtics as a free agent have changed?
6. I asked Irving after Sunday’s game what he made of Davis’ adding of the Celtics to his list. “Oh, he did, did he?” Irving said. “I don’t think I have a comment on that right now.”
Scott Kushner: Silver said the AD trade demand really wasn’t 18 months early for the Pelicans, because there CBA basically makes it so the summer was the real understanding of whether Davis was going to stay.
Michael Singer: Adam Silver acknowledges awkward situation of having to intervene re. Anthony Davis, Pelicans and issue of whether he should play. Said issues like these are extremely context-based and can’t be easily solved by plugging issue into a computer.
Vincent Goodwill: Adam Silver, while making note of historical players who've forced themselves out of cities (re: Anthony Davis): "No I don't like trade demands and I wish they'd be handled behind closed doors."
When Davis asked to be traded last month, the All-Star forward provided the front office with a list of teams he’d prefer to be traded to. The Knicks were among those teams and Steve Mills, the Knicks president, had informal talks with Demps about a possible deal centered around Davis and Kristaps Porzingis. According to a source familiar with the talks, Demps was not prepared to trade Davis to New York before knowing where the Knicks will select in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Knicks then traded Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks.
Griffin, who won a title in Cleveland with LeBron James, was considering an offer to become Knicks GM two years ago before turning down the job. According to a Knicks source, Griffin lost interest in the job when Mills signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a free agent contract while the Knicks were negotiating with Griffin to run the team. Griffin, who was led to believe he’d have full autonomy, quickly learned that Mills wasn’t about to relinquish any power. The message was that they would share the duties of running the Knicks. No one knows if that experience would make Griffin reluctant to deal with the Knicks’ front office. Those who know Griffin say his personality is to simply look for the best deal and, if the Knicks offered the most attractive package, he would take it.
Zarren’s name should worry both the Knicks and Lakers greatly. He is the right-hand man to Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who is expected to pursue Davis this summer. Besides the fact that Boston has the assets to put together a deal that can blow away the competition, Ainge’s relationship with Zarren would give the Celtics a significant edge.
New Orleans owner Gayle Benson has been angry over the Davis trade demand and her belief that "outside forces" are trying to push the franchise into decisions that don't make sense for them, league sources said. Her mandate has been to "take back control from outside forces," one league source told ESPN. Benson has been adamant with the organization to find a pathway to sustainable winning in one of the league's smallest markets, and plans to be aggressive in pursuing the best available candidates to oversee basketball operations, league sources said.
Benson owns the Pelicans and New Orleans Saints NFL team, and had Demps reporting to Saints GM Mickey Loomis. The Pelicans are eager to conduct a search that will attract a top basketball executive who'll take on a more prominent role in the franchise. Benson is promising to pursue a top-level GM to revitalize a franchise that's coming to a crossroads with the Davis trade. Among preliminary possible candidates, league sources tell ESPN: Former Cleveland GM David Griffin.
In Barkley’s view, though, the Lakers, who reportedly offered a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks, have no reason to hang their heads about their inability to consummate a deal. "At some point Anthony Davis is going to be with the Lakers,” Barkley predicted. “The fix is in. I actually got a call from Rich Paul. I said, ‘Dude, the fix is in, you know he’s going to the Lakers.’ Once [Davis] signed with Klutch, the fix was in.”
Is this Davis’s fault? The decision to take his trade request public backfired, putting the Pelicans in this position. That Davis took this tact is puzzling. Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers, sources familiar with the situation told The Crossover. But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to LA, coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by Rich Paul, who also represents Davis, had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.
The questions about his playing future won’t stop during the All-Star break either. Saturday’s open media session could be especially challenging for Davis. And all eyes will be on him during Sunday’s All-Star Game when he teams up with LeBron James, who has made it known that he wants Davis to join the Los Angeles Lakers. “You got to prepare for it,” Davis told The Undefeated last month about handling All-Star Weekend. “I got asked the questions before, but my answers going to stay the same. My job is to focus on the Pelicans; the other stuff, I let whoever handle it. … My job is to focus on trying to be the most competent player, help this team get to the playoffs. The rest of it is going to be talked about when it’s talked about.”
“I was talking to about the Celtics the other day and they said the worst thing that happened to the Celtics was their success last season. Because now you’ve got Tatum, [Jaylen] Brown, [Terry] Rozier — these young guys are thinking dude, we went to Game 7 of the East Finals without you, Kyrie, without you, Hayward. We’re this level of player … This summer, they could be gone. They might up end in New Orleans [for Davis]. It’s gossip, but the gossip is Jayson Tatum wouldn’t mind if he’s shipped to New Orleans and has a chance to be the face of the franchise somewhere. Because he’s not going to get that opportunity in Boston, at least not in the immediate future.”
If the Knicks luck out in the lottery with a top-two pick, the Pelicans will pay attention to them on draft night. A potential scenario is the Pelicans crafting a draft-night deal when the picks are revealed. In the Knicks’ case, the trade wouldn’t become official July 1 when they have their $74 million in cap space. The Knicks have plenty of young assets the Pelicans would consider, according to a source. Along with a lottery pick in June and one of the two Dallas first-rounders, the Pelicans can choose between two of the following: Smith, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson.
If the Pelicans eventually trade Davis for a package heavy on rebuilding assets, keep an eye on Holiday. He wants to be in a place where he can compete in the postseason and is waiting to see the Davis return, sources say.
Brian Windhorst: "I think the risk profile on this, looking at what the Lakers actually had to trade, the risk profile Anthony Davis and his team elected to take was a little bit unsavory. I thought the chance of them getting what they wanted was not high enough to the damage he was going to accept. But it could have worked."
The Lakers, however, were unable to persuade the Pelicans to surrender Davis during the exclusive negotiating window they had to pursue him in the wake of Davis’s Jan. 28 request to be traded. The front offices of Los Angeles and New Orleans had no discussions about Davis on deadline day, according to two people familiar with the talks, after negotiations broke down Tuesday over what the Lakers deemed to be exorbitant demands from New Orleans.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After considering the possibility of shutting down All-NBA center Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans plan to allow Davis back into the lineup for the rest of the season, league sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Despite Pelicans concerns about its prized asset possibly getting injured and losing value on trade market, league office had concerns about Pels forcing a healthy star to sit out rest of season. Still, Pels decided they wanted him back on floor, which Davis wanted too.
New Orleans Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps released the following statement today: “Anthony Davis will play the remainder of the 2018-19 season for the New Orleans Pelicans. A number of factors contributed to this decision. Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play and he gives our team the best opportunity to win games. Moreover, the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organization with NBA policies. We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans. We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”
Chris Mannix: Danny Ainge says there is no specific offer or deal in place/promised to New Orleans. Says he has a good relationship with the Pelicans front office.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Nearly 3 hours away from the NBA's trade deadline and ... the Lakers-Pelicans talks on Anthony Davis are dormant, league sources tell ESPN. No communication, nor an expectation that they'll even speak today. Pelicans seem content to run out the clock.
No matter how redundant or ridiculous the inquiries, the responses from Davis' teammates never wavered. "I love having Anthony around," Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said. "It's been fun playing with him, fighting and battling with him."
Chris Haynes: "It’s possible they’re going to hold [Davis] out until the conclusion of the trade deadline and even possibly after that if he remains a Pelican. There’s a chance during the second half of the season, I was told, that they would probably look to shut him down to a certain extent … If it does get to that point where he’s still a Pelican after the deadline and the organization decides to make that move on sitting him down, that’s where I think we’re in uncharted territory. And I know for a fact Anthony Davis will probably file a grievance."
This will still be an anxious week for the Boston brass, knowing the team will be sidelined from negotiations as other teams try to pry Davis from the Pelicans. Some rival executives have wondered why the Pelicans would rush to make a decision now, with the likelihood that the Lakers’ offer will still be there come the offseason. At that time, New Orleans would be able to better judge its other offers, including that from Boston. Jayson Tatum is widely viewed as the best prospect potentially on the table. The Celtics also have a list of other talented young players, like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, plus a number of draft picks to sweeten the offer. Even if the Kings’ pick isn’t likely to land where Boston hoped entering the season, the Celtics have the pieces to compete with anyone else’s offer — and they intend to be aggressive, sources said, assuming they actually get the chance to enter the race.
According to league sources, the Pelicans reached out to the Celtics this week to discuss the framework of a possible Davis deal, ostensibly to ensure that if they pass up on other offers before Thursday’s deadline, it would be for good reason.
Sources said the Pelicans have sought guarantees from the Celtics surrounding specific packages, but the Celtics have been reluctant to make absolute promises, simply because so much can transpire in five months, such as injuries. Nevertheless, sources said, the Celtics have made it clear that they will be ready and willing to offer an explosive package when the time arrives, and that no specific player will be off limits in negotiations.
While questions about the long-term Celtic futures of Irving and perhaps Davis loom, sources said it has been made clear from ownership down that the focus of this season should be on trying to win a championship now. Within the organization, there is a belief that it remains possible, and the fact that the Celtics have won 10 of their last 11 games, have the third-best net rating in the league, and have generally thrived when healthy has served as evidence.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The New Orleans Pelicans still haven't responded on the Los Angeles Lakers' most recent trade proposal for Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. Pelicans have yet to engage L.A. on trade talks. Deadline is nearly 24 hours away.
Storyline: Anthony Davis Trade
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