NBA Rumor: Pelicans Front Office

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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.

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.

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.”

“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.”
2 years ago via ESPN

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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June 13, 2021 | 2:45 am EDT Update

Spencer Dinwiddie unlikely to return this season

Spencer Dinwiddie still hasn’t rejoined the Nets. After partially tearing his right ACL in December, he has been rehabbing in Los Angeles and was expected to at least meet up with his teammates at some point. Recent reports have suggested Dinwiddie could play if the Nets reach the NBA Finals — set to begin July 8 — but sources have maintained it’s unlikely.
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Donovan Mitchell injury not serious

Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell exited Saturday’s 132-106 Game 3 loss to the LA Clippers because of pain in his right ankle, but the decision for him not to return was due to the lopsided score. “I feel like I was able to go back, but no need to risk it down 16, 18 at that point,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be fine.”
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Mitchell has averaged 32.3 points per game during the playoffs, including 30 point on 11-of-24 shooting in Game 3, despite dealing with persistent pain in the ankle. “It’s when I land,” Mitchell said. “It’s been just trying to manage it. I don’t really know what else to tell you; I don’t want to say too much. It was just the landing, but I’m good. I’ll be ready for Game 4.”
With the game slipping away from the Jazz, Mitchell had a conversation with coach Quin Snyder. He did not return to the game, although the Utah medical staff had cleared him to return. “He’s in good shape,” Snyder said. “He could have gone back in the game, but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi hit a 3. That was my decision not to put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point, but he’s fine.”
Storyline: Donovan Mitchell Injury