Pelicans executive David Griffin put his stamp on the franchise with Saturday’s Anthony Davis trade and now needs to prove he can build a winner without the star big man, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate. The franchise is making a transition from the Davis era to the Zion Williamson era, and its success will depend on the package of assets that New Orleans received from the Lakers.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart provide a nice collection of young talent, but Griffin didn’t land the proven All-Star he set out to get when he set the parameters for potential offers. Griffin opted for quantity rather than quality, choosing to gamble on three players with high upsides, along with three picks, including the No. 4 selection in this week’s draft.
Griffin likely has a lot of deals left to make. Each of the new assets has trade value that might enable him to increase his return for Davis, but whatever Griffin does, yesterday’s deal will be the pivotal step in defining his tenure in New Orleans.
There’s more on the Pelicans:
- By accepting two picks so far in the future, the Pelicans are gambling that the Lakers won’t be among the league’s best teams once LeBron James retires, Kushner tweets. New Orleans will receive L.A.’s pick in 2021, which will become unprotected in 2022 if it doesn’t convey. The Pelicans also get an unprotected selection in 2024 and the right to exchange picks in 2023 and 2025 with no protection in either year. Those future choices could fall in the late 20s if the Lakers remain an elite team or they could provide a draft haul similar to what the Celtics got from the Nets a few years ago.
- The Bulls might be the best option if the Pelicans decide to deal this year’s pick, suggests Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Chicago is in the market for a point guard, and Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland should be on the board at No. 4. Vecenie speculates Lauri Markkanen might be available because of his defensive liabilities and the Bulls’ commitment to Wendell Carter as their long-term center. He adds that the Pelicans will probably spend the next few days bringing in as many top prospects as possible before making a decision.
- If the Pelicans keep the fourth pick, they are likely to take North Carolina’s Coby White ahead of Garland, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.