When David Griffin was formally introduced as the new head of basketball operations in New Orleans last week, one of the first things he said was that he’ll make every effort to convince Anthony Davis that he can win with the Pelicans. It sounds like he’ll a chance to make that pitch fairly soon, as Scott Kushner of The Advocate hears from sources that the two sides are expected to meet next month.
Davis, of course, requested a trade midway through the 2018/19 season. While he wasn’t moved at the deadline it has seemed like a fait accompli that he’ll be wearing a new team’s uniform by opening night in 2019/20.
However, as Kushner points out, Griffin has a good relationship with Davis’ agent Rich Paul, who represented LeBron James when Griffin was the general manager in Cleveland. The Pelicans’ new executive VP of basketball operations also won’t be influenced by any recent tension with Davis or his camp, since he wasn’t part of the organization when the All-Star big man asked to be traded. Plus, New Orleans can still put a super-max extension offer on the table.
That doesn’t mean that Davis will reconsider his trade request or that Griffin will convince him to stick around, but AD himself acknowledged at season’s end that there was no guarantee he wouldn’t return to the Pelicans.
“I’m under contract still,” Davis said two weeks ago, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “I have a year left. Obviously it’s a possibility it could happen. I don’t have ill will towards anybody. I know that it’s a possibility that next year I could be here as well. So I can’t be mad if I’m here next year.”
Griffin told reporters during his introductory press conference that his goal is to assess whether Davis is all-in or all-out on the Pelicans before the team makes any major decisions. It sounds like he’ll get a chance to have that discussion within the next few weeks.