Griffin Proves Pelicans Are His Team With Anthony Davis Trade
Pelicans Exec VP/Basketball Operations David Griffin's decision to trade C Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a package of players and draft picks, including the No. 4 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, means there is "no hiding" that this is Griffin's team now, as he is the one who ultimately will be "held most responsible for its success or failure," according to Scott Kushner of the New Orleans ADVOCATE. In the end, Griffin "bet on himself rather than taking a less risky haul, choosing to grab more high-upside pieces instead of a singular known commodity." While the "load of assets carries a bevy of potential boons," it is also "lined with pitfalls that can backfire on Griffin, ranging from on-floor production to public relations" (THEADVOCATE.com, 6/15). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins wrote it is "quite a haul" for Griffin (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/16). In New Orleans, Nathan Brown wrote "all eyes will be on Griffin" leading up to Thursday’s Draft, as the team "continues to search for the current All-Star-caliber player he had hoped to pick up in a Davis trade" (THEADVOCATE.com, 6/15).
THE RIGHT TIME TO JUMP: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Griffin "really preyed on the desperation of the Lakers" and they "preyed on the fear they had that he could have very easily done a deal with the Boston Celtics" for Davis ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/16). In N.Y., Scott Cacciola writes the Lakers "could not afford to be patient, and everyone knew it, including the Pelicans" (N.Y. TIMES 6/17). THE RINGER's D.J. Foster wrote Griffin "knew the Lakers couldn't afford to burn another season of LeBron James ... by waiting for Davis to hit free agency" in the summer of '20 (THERINGER.com, 6/16). ESPN's Rachel Nichols: "It's a great haul for the Pelicans and David Griffin, and this is what he was hired for" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/15). TNT's Charles Barkley said, "Griffin did the best he could under the circumstances, I like where they're going" ("NBA Game Time," NBA TV, 6/15).
POSITION TO WIN: ESPN.com's Kevin Pelton wrote so far, Griffin's tenure with the Pelicans has been "nothing but positive, highlighted by the lottery win but also including beefing up the team's front office" with new GM Trajan Langdon, VP/Basketball Operations & Player Development Swin Cash and VP/Player Care & Performance Aaron Nelson. Griffin has "positioned New Orleans for success" (ESPN.com, 6/16). YAHOO SPORTS' Vincent Goodwill wrote this trade does "jump start the rebuild for the Pelicans," who can now draft F Zion Williamson without the "specter of more uncertainty" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/15). SI.com's Jeremy Woo wrote the deal gives the Pelicans the "opportunity for a fresh start," with the Draft "fast approaching" and Williamson incoming. The "value of having the Davis divorce in the rearview as the franchise’s new face arrives is massive from a franchise optics perspective" (SI.com, 6/15).
ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION? In New Orleans, Rod Walker noted Davis' departure is an "unfortunate ending, a messy divorce between a franchise and a guy who was the most beloved athlete in the city not named Drew Brees" (THEADVOCATE.com, 6/15). Though, NBCSPORTS.com's Kurt Helin wrote the Pelicans "just became must-watch television." Helin: "They are early contenders for League Pass favorites next season." The Pelicans are going to be "fun to watch" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/16).