Swin Cash: When we talk about culture building, it’s just really having a background and understanding of what winning looks like, what success on all levels looks like, how you build, how you get consensus. A lot of it is intention to detail, the process. I’m a really process-oriented person. But I also am heavy on the basketball side when it comes to working with Griff [executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin] and [general manager] Trajan [Langdon] in our front office, as far as strategy, team-building, evaluating talent from a scout standpoint, so it’s all of those things.
Now that you’re really immersed in the job, have you seen gains across the NBA in terms of more women getting hired, including more Black women, as coaches or in front offices? Swin Cash: I think with COVID, this whole pandemic, bubbles and everything else, I got hired and haven’t had one normal NBA season yet. ... I give a lot of credit across the league to teams. There was a wave when I came in of women hires and then you saw Niele [Ivey] and Kara [Lawson] and other people go back to the women’s game or college, and you would think that that may slow down the process, or people were like, ‘Oh man, we had these great hires and they left.’ But then you look and then ‘alright, here’s the next wave coming in.’
Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth and Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon are the other noteworthy GMs who've yet to run their own operation. The last person to hold Booth's title with the Nuggets was Karnisovas, and Booth may be as highly regarded as his predecessor. "Former player, works his ass off. Unbelievable dude," said one assistant general manager. "He goes out and scouts like a normal scout."
Last week, Stan Van Gundy said he and David Griffin “weren’t on the same page” in New Orleans. Tuesday, he elaborated on their philosophical differences. In an appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Van Gundy said one of Griffin’s main concerns was the “atmosphere” around the team. Van Gundy said he was most concerned by what happened in between the lines.
“I felt that the focus should be on what went on on the court,” Van Gundy said. “What was good. What was bad. All of that. I think Griff was concerned with the atmosphere around the team and the happiness of people and things like that. I think that was probably the biggest difference. If I would’ve gone into a meeting and somebody were to say, ‘Hey, you were 31-41, and that’s not good enough,’ I have no problem with that. That’s what we sign up for in this business. Regardless of circumstances, that’s what we sign up for in this business. But that’s not what it came down to or what I heard.”
Van Gundy said he thinks he and the Pelicans will be happier in the long run that their marriage dissolved so quickly. “It will be better for everybody,” Van Gundy said. “You certainly need alignment between your coach and your front office. It’ll be better for everybody, I think. My wife and I will move on with our life and be very, very happy.”
Jim Eichenhofer: David Griffin on roster: "We need to make the pieces fit a little bit better." Partly described the combination of players as "wonky," which made it challenging for #Pelicans coaching staff, especially with very limited training camp and practices
Andrew Lopez: JJ Redick on his @OldManAndThree podcast re: trade to Dallas from NOLA: - Says he made a trade request in November before the season - Around the time of Jrue trade - Knew what was coming with Stan's defensive schemes - Had convos with Griff and Trajan.
Andrew Lopez: - If family came to NOLA, kids would have to quarantine for a week when they got back to Brooklyn - Says Griff basically told him, "Come down for a month, if you still want out, I give you my word, I'll get you to a situation you like" - Had 4 convos after this directly w Griff
Andrew Lopez: Redick: "Obviously, he did not honor his word." - Says his understanding once after he wasn't traded at aggregate deadline was that he was going to get a buyout or traded to a team in the Northeast
Andrew Lopez: @talter asks "Why should any player trust this organization" Redick: "I don't think you're going to get honesty from that front office, objectively speaking. That's not an opinion, I just don't think you're gonna get that. I don't think what happened with me is necessarily...
One of your main responsibilities as a leader within the Pelicans organization is to help that franchise establish a certain type of culture. What does that look like to you? Swin Cash: That looks like everything. Our culture, people use it and sometimes it’s one of those catchy, cliché words. But it’s just literally how you do business. How do we do business here in New Orleans? How do we take care of our players? How do we take care of our staff? When people come here, what are their expectations that are set? Is this department or that department operating in lockstep with the other one? Being a part of other winning organizations has helped me see how things kind of operate together. Being here and being able to apply different strategies, being able to streamline things, that’s what you look for. How we do business is how we create culture.
When you were working with Griffin at NBA TV, you engaged in plenty of conversations about the game and the players. Some of those conversations had to have gotten intense, right? Swin Cash: Well, it was never just Griff and I getting intense. You know everybody else is in there, too. I think the greatest thing about Turner is we all could sit there in a space and have conversations, whether it’s about the games going on, pop culture, things that are happening, all of that. It doesn’t matter if you’re on NBA TV or the guys on Inside, everybody’s still there. That is what created where Candace [Parker] is right now, where Allie [LaForce] is and Stephanie [Ready]. Those are my girls. Working with them and being in that same space, it never was the guys saying, ‘Oh, that’s the female over there.’ We were all talking hoops. I think that level of respect is something that was appreciated. With Griff coming from winning championships, having his success and coming up through the ranks of the NBA, I think he was probably evaluating me at the time, and I had no clue.
From roster-building to lineup experimentation, these days in the bayou are rightfully engineered around complementing Zion Williamson and his historic ability to dominate the interior. That is why the Pelicans did not reach rookie-extension agreements with either Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart before the season, sources said. That same calculus played into Brandon Ingram's extension discussions as well.
KC Johnson: Can confirm that Gar Forman will work in Pelicans front office, focusing on scouting, as a special advisor to Pelicans EVP David Griffin and GM Trajan Langdon. First with news: @Adrian Wojnarowski. Forman and Griffin have been close for years and shared mutual respect for each other.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Former Chicago Bulls GM Gar Forman is joining the New Orleans Pelicans front office as a special advisor, sources tell ESPN. Forman will focus in the scouting area for David Griffin and Trajan Langdon.
That’s part of Cash’s charge in New Orleans. She doesn’t want to be the only Black woman in her position in the league for long. Growing up in McKeesport, Pa., her mother and grandmother told her she’d have it twice as hard — and to suck it up and get to work. “You can’t be afraid to put women in leadership positions, just because it’s maybe not the popular thing to do, or you’re worried about women leading men,” Cash said, citing her early support of Michele Roberts to take over as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association while she was working with the WNBPA, in concert with the NBPA, as each union was trying to overhaul its existing leadership.
While not typically a critique levied on the New Orleans Pelicans, a recent story from The Athletic’s Seth Partnow revealed a potential glaring weakness for the franchise. After The Athletic did similar reports for NHL and NFL franchises, Partnow took a look at the size of the analytics departments for each NBA franchise. While Partnow admitted to it likely being an incomplete sample size, the Pelicans not only had the smallest analytics department, they had just one full-time staffer in the department.
Cash may be a sneakerhead to the core, but she’s always mindful about changing into her heels as tipoff approaches: “Sometimes my back is killing me in those heels, but that’s what I’ve got to do when it’s time to get to business.” That pregame shoe swap symbolizes the duality she brings to her role as one of the most prominent members of the Pelicans’ new and improved front office. As the vice president of basketball operations, she serves as a mentor for the younger players and a refreshing new voice for a franchise eager to move on from the Anthony Davis debacle.
EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin was seeking a leader who would resonate among players and senior administration alike, and he found one in a historic hire. Cash was the first woman of color to be hired in an executive role by an NBA front office. In a league in which the number of male executives of color is dwindling each year, Cash’s hire is extremely important for the Pelicans and the NBA.
When speaking to Cash and other members of the franchise, one feels like what she’s accomplished is almost an afterthought because of everything she represents to the team. And in some way, it does feel like progress when something like “first black female executive for an NBA team” isn’t a big deal anymore. But the way she’s stepped in and become a figure so many younger fans can aspire to emulate will forge a mark that’ll last much longer than anything she accomplishes while in New Orleans. For Cash, achieving something like that has always been a dream, but her motto is “don’t worry about being the first. Just make sure you’re not the last.”
Joe Cowley: Current Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon was talked about briefly weeks ago as an interview prospect once the executive VP role was filled, but a source said that nothing materialized out of that besides just chatter.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans is hiring Teresa Weatherspoon to its coaching staff, league sources tell ESPN.
Will Guillory: Can confirm @Adrian Wojnarowski's report about Teresa Weatherspoon joining the Pels' coaching stadfy. Griff gets another WNBA legend in the building.
Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is trying to persuade Ujiri to leave the NBA champions to join the Wizards, according to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. "I hear Barack Obama's a part of that whole Masai recruitment to D.C.," Strauss said on a recent episode of the "Back To Back" podcast. "I've heard Obama wants Masai in D.C. Obama wants to do something with basketball."
The New Orleans Pelicans are hiring former UConn and WNBA star Swin Cash to a senior front office position, league sources told ESPN. The team will name Cash vice president of basketball operations and team development, sources say. She will scout, help guide player development on and off the floor, and assume other roles within the organization.
Will Guillory: Sources with @Shams Charania: Pelicans and Director of Player Personnel David Booth have mutually parted ways. New Orleans added Trajan Langdon as GM on Sunday. Booth has been respected member of the front office for close to a decade.
The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Trajan Langdon as the team’s General Manager, it was announced today by Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin.
David Griffin: “Trajan is a tremendous talent and shares in our vision of what it means to be a part of the Pelican family, on and off the floor. We are excited to add he and his family to our leadership group as we continue building upon that vision.”
Shams Charnia: New Orleans has agreed on deal with Brooklyn assistant general manager Trajan Langdon to make him the new GM working alongside David Griffin, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium .
Fred Katz: The Wizards, for those interested, never hit up Langdon for their open job, which I always found interesting considering the search firm consultant they’re using is the same one New Orleans did.
"For whatever reason, we have not created a culture that fosters a consistently winning franchise," she said. "The way we have been operating has not worked, and we have not adapted to the realities of today’s NBA." The Pelicans have since overhauled their front office by hiring David Griffin as executive vice president of basketball operations and firing general manager Dell Demps.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: After meeting with New Orleans' top executive David Griffin about a high-ranking front office job, assistant GM Trent Redden will stay with Clippers. Redden has great belief in Griffin, but is still too connected to LAC group and the unfinished business remaining there.
Andrew Greif: From @BA_Turner and me: Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden is staying with the team after being courted by New Orleans for its GM job, multiple sources confirmed. Clippers’ front office has now retained GM Michael Winger and Redden in recent weeks despite interest across league.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Redden staying w/ owner Steve Ballmer/President Lawrence Frank comes after GM Michael Winger turned down a chance to interview for Minnesota's President of Basketball Operations job. Clippers are operating like a big market, destination franchise -- and those are hard to leave.
Scott Kushner: I’m told potential Pelicans front office addition Trent Redden is in New Orleans this week. It doesn’t mean his hire is certain. David Griffin is holding a large-scale meeting with the team’s incumbent staff later this week, which should help sort out who is in/who is out.
Andrew Lopez: Can confirm that Trent Redden is in New Orleans right now. Met with Griffin already. Redden is currently the No. 3 shot caller in L.A. w/ the Clippers. Could potentially be the new Pelicans GM if all goes well. Griffin will continue to assemble his team in the coming weeks.
"Griff is a guy who, when you call him, he calls you back," one prominent agent told SN. "He'll listen to whatever your issue is, whatever your player's issue is, no matter how small. So he has that reputation, and that's not something that New Orleans has had over the years. "I think he wants to get that team back to that basic thing, just showing how you treat players day in and day out. That's what you want a team and an organization to be."
The New Orleans Pelicans have been granted permission to discuss a senior front-office role with LA Clippers assistant general manager Trent Redden, league sources told ESPN. Redden and David Griffin, the Pelicans' new executive vice president of basketball operations, worked closely together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where they were a part of winning the 2016 NBA championship. At his introductory news conference Wednesday, Griffin said his plan would be to prioritize the hiring of talented executives over filling specific roles and titles.
Around the league, it had been presumed that Griffin would be aggressive in finding a way to reunite with Redden, a well-regarded front-office executive. Redden has been an assistant GM with the Clippers since shortly after his departure from Cleveland in 2017. When Griffin didn't come to terms on a new deal to stay on as the Cavaliers' top basketball executive, Redden left the organization soon after. Redden worked his way up from an intern to a top front-office executive during his 11 years with the Cavaliers.
Griffin is a two-time cancer survivor, having started chemotherapy the day the Cavs realized they’d won the lottery (by way of the Clippers) in 2011. It was the pick Cleveland used on Kyrie Irving. Words like “spirit” and “fit” are biggies with Griff. The first trade he made as Cavs’ GM (having taken over for Grant before the trade deadline in 2014) was for Spencer Hawes, a stretch-5 to play with Irving.
Jake Madison: Griffin says he has people in mind to add to the organization, but didn't make a demand in terms of specific names. He'd was specific on the 'types' of people he'd add to the team and wanted to make sure the bandwidth will be there to bring them in.
Salary and financial resources for basketball ops were not the problem for Griffin in Cleveland; power structure and freedom to operate were. Pelicans owner Gayle Benson appears to have given Griffin the power in New Orleans that he couldn’t get from Gilbert. He is permitted to hire a GM on the Pelicans; his former chief aide in Cleveland, Trent Redden, is the likely choice.
Even though people around the organization have pushed back on this claim in the past, there has been a strong perception around the league that New Orleans’ inability to consistently construct a playoff-caliber roster around Davis is because the team hasn’t cared enough to put the right people in place behind the scenes to make that happen.
Scott Kushner: I’ve talked to some league sources, who confirmed David Griffin received assurances the Pelicans are making a larger investment into their front office under his leadership, so expect to see added staff and more layers, including a bolstered scouting department.
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.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry worked with Griffin with the Suns, and he interviewed Griffin for the Cavaliers' head coaching job that eventually went to David Blatt. Gentry is a favorite of the organization, and he was expected to return next season regardless of the front office hiring, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pelicans and David Griffin have an agreement that he will run the franchise's basketball operations, but...they're still working on the job title, league source tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: David Griffin is finalizing a deal to become the next President of Basketball Operations with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Danny Ferry has pulled out of the Pelicans GM process, he tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans interim GM Danny Ferry is meeting with franchise officials today about the permanent GM job, league sources tell ESPN. Ferry is the final interview among several candidates, including David Griffin, Larry Harris, Trajan Langdon, Gersson Rosas and Tommy Sheppard.
Jeff Duncan: The Pelicans began conducting interviews for their vacant GM position at 9 a.m. this morning. Have confirmed the following candidates are on their list: Danny Ferry, David Griffin, Larry Harris, Trajan Langdon, Gersson Rosas, Tommy Sheppard.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans has been granted permission to interview several front office candidates for GM job, including Golden State’s Larry Harris, Brooklyn’s Trajan Langdon and Houston’s Gersson Rosas, league sources tell ESPN. There are more candidates expected to be in the process.
Have you heard anything about the Suns GM / President position? The names I’ve heard are McHale and Paxson. I’m very jealous of the names around the Pelicans’ search: David Griffin, Danny Ferry, and Trajan Langdon. Sam Amick: @Austin D. Admittedly, I haven't dived into the Suns situation (although I'd always recommend reading our Gina Mizell on that front). As for the Pels, they're using a high-end search firm that has everything to do with the names you're hearing. It's a smart, obvious way to go - and the Suns, as you may have heard, have struggled to make those sorts of moves for these past few years.
Mike Zarren’s name has surfaced as a potential target for the Pelicans and for Washington if the Wizards’ owner, Ted Leonsis, responds to his team’s unsightly (and, to be fair, injury-filled) 30-44 campaign with the management shake-up he has long resisted. Ernie Grunfeld was installed as Washington’s president of basketball operations in June 2003.
Fletcher Mackel: Today @PelicansNBA owner Gayle Benson said the franchise will soon look at 5-6 candidates for the GM job. Talking to multiple @NBA sources I trust, I think four of the people Gayle is referencing (under consideration) are: Danny Ferry. David Griffin. Trajan Langdon. Gersson Rosas.
Scott Kushner: Sources: The Pelicans process to hire a new general manager is expected to ramp up next week. A search firm has been parsing out candidates and is expected to provide ownership a list of 5-10 names next week. From there, they can conduct interviews, pick finalists.
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.
Ramona Shelburne: As @Adrian Wojnarowski noted, Pels owner was livid at the scene last night. According to a source, it was communicated to Demps that AD and Rich Paul left to get an MRI on his shoulder, but that message was not relayed to head coach Alvin Gentry. He found out from a reporter’s Q
Ramona Shelburne: Later that night, AD texted Gentry to explain that he’d left to get an MRI on the shoulder, according to a source.
After injuring his left shoulder late in the first half, sources say Davis left with Paul in order to undergo an MRI at the nearby Ochsner Medical Center (the injury, as reported by The Athletic on Thursday night, was deemed a muscle contusion and it remains unclear if he’ll play in the All-Star game). According to a source close to Davis, this decision to leave the game early had been relayed in real-time to Demps – but not from Demps to Gentry, whose postgame media scrum was the latest evidence of the frustration this Davis situation has caused.
Sam Amick: Also in the @TheAthletic piece: While Danny Ferry will have his chance to make his case as the interim, New Orleans will hire a search firm soon to vet high-level outside candidates. They want to do this the right way.
David Aldridge: Danny Ferry’s committed to be interim GM for the rest of the season in New Orleans, while everyone, including him and ownership, understands the final call on whether he becomes the full-time GM will happen after the season ends. Pels will still look at external candidates.
The New Orleans Pelicans announced that after discussions with Dell Demps this morning, the team and Demps have decided to mutually part ways. “We will immediately begin the process of restructuring our basketball operations department,” stated Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson. “This will include a comprehensive, but confidential, search aided by outside consultants to identify a new leader of our basketball operations, directly reporting to me.” Danny Ferry will assume the team’s interim general manager duties.
December 3, 2021 | 11:35 am EST Update
There is optimism within the organization, though, that Lopez could return this season, per a team source. And while this is the 14th NBA season for the 33-year-old Lopez, Budenholzer told reporters the team does not believe this surgery has a chance to be career-threatening.
PJ Tucker was 1,500 miles away, on his way to FTX Arena in Miami for a game with his new team, but he had to pick up the phone to talk to you. He didn’t know that when his face, voice and highlights appeared in the championship video on ring night on Oct. 19 that Fiserv Forum rocked. But he’s heard you, felt you – and he’s looking forward to his return Saturday night to soak it all in once again.
“Hey, listen – you know what surprised me the most is how many fans are reaching out on e-mail, DM, everything, comments, talking about coming to the game,” he said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. “It’s really … that part was the part that made me think back and really think about it even before I talked to you. Because you can’t, like, you can’t make that up. Guys go play for teams and win and people don’t care. People could care less. And I know that for a fact. “For the love I still get, even though I’m on an opposite team who their guys will battle this year and to still get that love, that’s what I’m saying about my experience in Milwaukee that nobody will ever understand: As short as it was, it couldn’t have been any bigger.”
It briefly left him searching for the right words as he tried to process what the city and its fans have meant to him. “I’ll always love Milwaukee,” he said. “I’ll love the people of Milwaukee forever. They embraced me so much from day one when I first got there to the day I left, they were always there, they always had my back. That’s not something you get right away. You don’t normally get the trust and the love of the city so fast. It was an amazing experience and journey.”
December 3, 2021 | 8:18 am EST Update
And Wall’s remaining money is significantly more than Walker’s was. For a Wall buyout to make any sense for the Rockets, Wall would likely have to give up even more than Walker did to the Thunder — and there’s next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal. At any rate, that hasn’t been seriously discussed by either side as a possibility. “It’s hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn’t equal what your production is,” a sympathetic front office person from another team said Wednesday. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for a lot of guys.”