Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Valanciunas, Grizzlies, Spurs

A report earlier this week indicated that the Pelicans had David Griffin the go-ahead to hire a general manager underneath him, and that he was likely to choose former Cavaliers executive Trent Redden. However, speaking to reporters, including Scott Kushner of The Advocate, at his introductory press conference on Wednesday, Griffin insisted that he’s more concerned with attracting the right kind of people to New Orleans than with specific titles.

“We need to get all the right people on the bus and we can figure out what we call each other once we are rolling to the right place, and I think that’s a really meaningful thing,” Griffin said, per Kushner. “I think the areas you have the biggest ability to build competitive advantage in infrastructure is very much in performance and player care. It’s an area I put a lot of weight on and area I’m very familiar with re-working and believing in.”

As we detailed on Wednesday, Griffin also talked about Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, the perception of New Orleans as a “small” market, and several other topics during his first meeting with the media. However, according to Kushner, the Pelicans’ new top basketball executive made it clear that his top priority is building a solid, sustainable infrastructure within the organization.

“My biggest goal in all of this is, when I get run out of town on a rail, and we all do eventually, this can sustain itself for [team owner] Mrs. [Gayle] Benson,” Griffin said. “So, the next person she puts in charge will know they’re starting on really solid footing.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Despite rumors that Jonas Valanciunas had to make a decision on player option yesterday, his decision isn’t actually due until June 13, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian confirms (via Twitter). The Grizzlies‘ center is unlikely to match his $17.62MM salary for 2019/20 if he opts out, but he could easily exceed that total number on a longer-term deal, so it’s not clear yet which direction he’ll go.
  • A team source tells Herrington that the Grizzlies are expected to make more front offices hires even after adding Rich Cho and Glen Grunwald on Wednesday.
  • Veteran point guard Mike Conley wants to play for a championship contender, and it’s not clear whether that can happen in Memphis anytime soon. Still, the Grizzlies have to do what’s best for the franchise, not necessarily what’s best for Conley, as they weigh major roster decisions this offseason, writes Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • In an entertaining piece for, Baxter Holmes takes a deep dive into the secret team dinners that have been a fixture for Spurs coaches, executives, and players throughout Gregg Popovich‘s tenure with the organization, exploring how those dinners influence the club’s culture and success.
  • On Wednesday, we examined the Maverickssalary cap outlook for the coming offseason.
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