APRIL 17: The Pelicans have made it official, announcing in a press release that Griffin is their new executive vice president of basketball operations.
“We are very pleased to welcome David and his wife, Meredith, to the New Orleans Pelicans,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “After a comprehensive interview process, which included several top candidates from across the NBA, David’s strong leadership skills, acumen and vision stood out as the best fit for our organization to achieve our goal of building a team that will compete for championships. I am proud of the process that we went through in our search and I look forward to working with David and providing all of the resources he needs to bring an NBA championship to our city.”
APRIL 12: The Pelicans are finalizing a deal with veteran NBA executive David Griffin that will make him the team’s new head of basketball operations, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the two sides have reached an agreement in principle.
The Pelicans and Griffin are still determining what his official title will be, but he’ll control the club’s basketball operations, tweets Wojnarowski. Griffin’s title will likely be executive VP of basketball operations, Woj adds (via Twitter).
Having dismissed general manager Dell Demps during the season, the Pelicans turned to advisor Danny Ferry to assume GM duties on an interim basis, but have recently conducted a full-fledged search for a permanent head of basketball operations.
Ferry was considered a candidate during that process, but recently withdrew from consideration, citing concerns about the timing of moving his family to New Orleans on a full-time basis, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
The Pelicans also considered Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard, but will go with Griffin, who has the most high-level experience in the group.
Griffin served as the general manager in Cleveland from February of 2014 up until the summer of 2017, overseeing the return of LeBron James in 2014 and the Cavaliers’ championship-winning roster in 2016.
Although the Cavs got stuck with some player-friendly contracts on their cap during Griffin’s tenure, he was well-regarded overall as an executive, and may have stuck around longer if he and owner Dan Gilbert could have agreed to contract terms in 2017. Griffin was said to be seeking a raise and a promotion, and was ultimately replaced by Koby Altman.
Griffin will face a new challenge in New Orleans, as he’ll now be responsible for resolving Anthony Davis‘ trade request. It’s widely believed that Davis, who is eligible for the super-max this summer and is entering the final year of his current contract, has played his last game for the Pelicans. It will be up to Griffin to find the best deal possible for the star center.
During his days as the Pelicans’ general manager, Demps reported to team president Mickey Loomis, the general manager of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. However, the club has indicated it intends to separate the basketball and football operations to a greater extent going forward, so Griffin is expected to report directly to owner Gayle Benson.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.