Pelicans’ David Griffin Reportedly On Hot Seat

There has been more and more chatter around the NBA in recent weeks about David Griffin‘s job security, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says that Griffin’s hold on his position as Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations appears increasingly tenuous.

The Pelicans came into the season with playoff aspirations, but have lost eight consecutive games and own a league-worst 1-11 record. The team has been without Zion Williamson so far, and Griffin has faced criticism for making misleading comments on Media Day about when the former No. 1 pick would be ready to return from his offseason foot surgery.

[RELATED: Williamson Out Until At Least Mid-To-Late November]

When Griffin took the reins in New Orleans in 2019, the Pelicans were in position to draft Williamson and cash in on trades involving stars Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, giving them a massive leg up in the rebuilding process.

Although Griffin did well to stock up on draft picks in the Davis and Holiday blockbusters, he has made a handful of other questionable moves, including extending Steven Adams and then dumping him a year later before the extension even took effect. Additionally, besides Williamson, Griffin’s first-round picks in 2019 and 2020 – Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Kira Lewis – have yet to make a major impact at the NBA level.

According to Fischer, another recent incident raised eyebrows around the league. A report in September claimed that Griffin blamed the Pelicans’ poor start in 2019/20 on former head coach Alvin Gentry, telling one person, “I give Alvin all the answers to the test, and he still fails.” After Sacramento beat the Pelicans in New Orleans on October 29, Griffin approached Gentry – now a Kings assistant – to say hello, but Gentry viewed Griffin’s friendliness as inauthentic, per Fischer.

During that interaction, Fischer says, Griffin denied multiple details from that report, while Gentry pointed out that the Pelicans had essentially the same record under Stan Van Gundy (31-41) in 2020/21 as they did under Gentry in ’19/20. “You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either,” Gentry shouted at Griffin, per Fischer’s sources, who say the two men had to be separated.

Meanwhile, Willie Green, the third coach of Griffin’s tenure with the Pelicans, expressed frustration following the club’s loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN details. Four New Orleans players combined for five technical fouls in the game, prompting Green to call out his players after the game for complaining about foul calls they “haven’t earned.” The first-year head coach also wasn’t happy with his players’ compete level.

“It’s not the losing streak. It’s not one quarter. It’s our approach to this game,” Green said. “There were moments in the game where we just didn’t have guys who didn’t compete hard enough for me. Hard enough for our team. That’s a non-negotiable for me. That’s the deal. That’s who we are. As the leader of this team, I can’t have that. I can’t have guys on the floor if they aren’t going to give 110%.”

Getting Williamson and Brandon Ingram (hip) back on the court will go a long way toward making the Pelicans competitive again, but the club’s early-season slump is creating an increasingly difficult path to playoff contention. If New Orleans doesn’t bounce back in a major way, significant changes could be coming, and the head coach is unlikely to be the fall guy for a third straight year — that means Griffin finds himself firmly on the hot seat.

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