NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
David Griffin's hire as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations sends a resounding message to the rest of the league that the Pelicans are not going to shrink into an NBA afterthought just because Anthony Davis may be on his way out.
“As I have mentioned to David (Griffin) in our conversations, we are fully committed to providing any and all resources he may need in order to build a competitive roster with the ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship,” says team owner Gayle Benson.
That played a huge factor, and one of the deciding factors, in Griffin making his way to New Orleans. According to Griffin, the process went both ways. The Pelicans searched for the right leader to bring the organization sustained success while Griffin searched for an owner that trusts him completely.
“I made a joke about making some outrageous demands, but we were really, really clear about where we are today and where we need to go in terms of the level of investment in this,” says Griffin. “And I think you’re going to see that this very much models their level of investment in the Saints and their desire to make it as much of a flamethrower as that team is.”
Griffin says he’s happy with a few of the pieces already in place, from building the team around Jrue Holiday, to the head coach Alvin Gentry, who Griffin says played another role in joining the Pelicans. Not only does he look forward to winning in New Orleans, but like in Cleveland, winning in a small market where sports mean everything, and the climb from the bottom to the top, much like that of the Saints 13 years ago, makes it even more satisfying.
“You should want to win championships in a market like this because it means more,” says Griffin. “Anybody can play the game if you cheat and start way ahead. Let’s win this together in a way that means something. That was a big attraction to me.”
What may go unnoticed about Griffin is the relationship he already has with Anthony Davis’s agency Klutch Sports and agent Rich Paul, someone he’s dealt with before having signed LeBron James in Cleveland. Griffin says he has already spoken with Paul, and despite everything that’s happened over the last few months, the situation with AD and the Pelicans isn’t beyond repairing.
“In speaking to Rich (Paul), I think there’s an openness to it, and frankly, I think Anthony has some excitement of what we have the potential to do,” says Griffin. “At the same time, it’s more about, ‘Are you all the way in or all the way out?’ There’s not going to be something where this is, ‘Yeah, I want to be here but-.’ This is what we’re doing. This is where we’re going. And we very much want to achieve what we think you want to achieve. Hopefully, he’s as like-minded as the front office and ownership are.”
One thing that was abundantly clear after hearing from David Griffin is the emphasis he’s put on building the organization with the right people to create positive relationships. As selective as he says he was in joining the right franchise, it sounds like he found a great fit here in New Orleans.