The Pelicans won’t be choosing between Lonzo Ball and recently-acquired Eric Bledsoe as their starting point guard, according to executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin. New Orleans’ top executive envisions that they’ll form the starting backcourt, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. The Pelicans had a similar setup last season, when Ball and Jrue Holiday shared ballhandling duties. The Pelicans acquired Bledsoe from the Bucks and center Steven Adams from the Thunder, along with draft picks, in a four-team deal that sent Holiday to Milwaukee.
New head coach Stan Van Gundy said that Griffin has prioritized toughness and competitiveness at a very high level, and Bledsoe and Adams fit that mold, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweets.
Griffin and Van Gundy dropped some interesting tidbits during their Monday press conference:
- Griffin had pursued Adams for a very long time, according to Kushner (Twitter link). Griffin was impressed with Adams since meeting him prior to the 2013 draft. Adams, who was selected with the No. 12 pick that year, received a two-year, $35MM extension as part of the four-team deal.
- The front office wanted to do right by Holiday by trading him to a title contender, Lopez notes (Twitter link). Griffin said Holiday’s career timeline to compete for a championship differed somewhat from the Pelicans’ timeline.
- Brandon Ingram‘s five-year contract doesn’t include a player option, Lopez adds in another tweet, but there is a trade bonus. Ingram officially signed the $158.25MM contract on Monday.
- Zion Williamson will not have any restrictions heading into training camp, according to Van Gundy. The coach anticipates the early days of camp will look different because they haven’t played as much pickup due to COVID-19 restrictions and a short offseason (Twitter link).
- The team’s disappointing showing in the Orlando restart convinced Griffin the team needed more “elite competitors” and didn’t have “enough of a work ethic identity,” Kushner relays (Twitter link).