Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin, who spoke last month about having made player health a priority this offseason, said on Monday that the changes to the team’s player care and performance department were made after consulting with players, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.
As Clark details, Aaron Nelson has been relegated to an advisory role, while physical therapist Amy Atmore was hired as New Orleans’ director of rehabilitation. Director of performance and sports science Daniel Bove and head athletic trainer Tom Maystadt will join Atmore in leading the medical staff, while general manager Trajan Langdon will replace Griffin as the front office executive with the most responsibilities in that department.
“I think we have been humble enough as an organization to make a lot of changes in the areas we needed to,” Griffin said, according to Clark. “One of those areas is Trajan is actually going to be the one on a day-to-day basis who is the key component to the medical team from our front office staff. He’ll be the one handling that.
“I’m already excited by the changes that have been made here because of it. I think when you have a former player, they bring a certain level of passion to it. A big part of that is listening a whole lot more and being less dogmatic and willing to be flexible.”
Here’s more on the Pelicans:
- Zion Williamson, of course, has been the Pelicans player most impacted by injuries in recent years, but the former No. 1 overall pick earned praise on Monday from Griffin for the adjustment he made to his approach this offseason. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes, Williamson heavily invested in his personal training staff, according to Griffin. “Zion is obviously in good condition,” Griffin said. “The thing I think is important is CJ (McCollum) and Brandon (Ingram), throughout their careers, have always employed people to take care of their body, to take care of their nutrition. They are really invested in their profession. This was the first summer where we’ve seen Zion take his profession seriously like that and invest in it off the court on his own in a way that I think is meaningful.”
- Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ingram essentially confirmed a September report stating that he won’t pursue a contract extension prior to the season. Ingram could land a bigger payday by waiting until next year to extend his deal, especially if he makes an All-NBA team in 2024. “They handing a lot of people big money,” Ingram said, per Clark (Twitter link). “I’m trying to get some big money.”
- Kaiser Gates‘ two-way contract with the Pelicans covers two seasons, running through 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) first reported the terms of Gates’ deal.
- The Pelicans issued a press release announcing a series of promotions and new additions to their coaching staff and front office. In addition to confirming the hiring of James Borrego as associate head coach and Aaron Miles as an assistant coach, the club announced several changes to its video team and named Dominic Samangy its basketball analytics coordinator. In the front office, Adam Barnes has been named the general manager of basketball operations for the Birmingham Squadron, New Orleans’ G League team, while Alex Kaufman has been named the Pelicans’ manager of player evaluation and basketball operations.