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David Griffin says he believes Anthony Davis is open to staying in New Orleans


We’ve known this was a done deal for a while, but Wednesday he stepped out on stage and made it official: David Griffin is the man in charge of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s the guy with the hammer now.

What Griffin talked most about was building an infrastructure that can win in New Orleans. That means investing in the medical side (too often in the past that was tied to the Saints organization to save money, not with basketball people), as well as in player development. He also talked about the proper use of analytics, in balance, but increasing info from that part of the organization as well.

Of course, what everyone else wanted to talk about was Anthony Davis.

Davis’ representatives asked for a trade last season before the deadline, doing so in a very public way that torpedoed any playoff dreams for the Pelicans (those were longshots anyway) and creating a storm that eventually engulfed and help tank the Lakers, too. Davis came out the other end, still a Pelican, but around the league everyone expects him to be traded this summer.

Griffin said he is going to give it a shot to keep Davis, but the All-Star big man has to be all-in.

Griffin has to take this shot. Even if the Pelicans got their dream offer from Boston or wherever, they would not get a player the caliber of Davis in return. He is a top-five NBA player when healthy (and that may be too low), a force on both ends of the court, and he is just entering his prime. Griffin has to sit down with Davis and his agent Rich Paul, make his pitch about upgrades to both the team infrastructure and the roster, remind him how much extra money the Pelicans can pay him compared to any other team, and try to get Davis to buy in.

If that fails… more likely when that fails, then Griffin moves on to Plan B. Which would be trading Davis for the best possible deal (look for a move around the draft), but maybe keeping Jrue Holiday.

If the Pelicans go into a full rebuild, they may need to consider trading Holiday. Then again, the right package of players with a healthy Holiday could have the Pelicans close to a playoff spot in the West while still restructuring the roster for the future.

Griffin wants to win and win big in New Orleans. He owned up to that being a challenge in a smaller market, but called it “b*******” that small markets can’t get titles.

Minnesota signs undrafted rookie Naz Reid to multiyear deal

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed rookie center Naz Reid to a multiyear contract, upgrading the two-way deal they initially gave him before a strong performance for the team’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The new contract, completed Thursday, all but ensures that Reid will be on the regular-season roster, after going undrafted out of LSU.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic broke the story.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Reid averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes over seven summer league games against other clubs largely composed of rookies and second-year players. The Timberwolves’ team reached the championship game.

Reid averaged 13.6 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds in his lone season at LSU, which reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Bulls bring back Shaquille Harrison on one-year contract

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Shaquille Harrison started last season as an afterthought at the end of the Chicago Bulls’ bench. Then, because Cameron Payne was not good and Kris Dunn got injured (and was really not that good, either), Harrison got his chance — and took it. He was a defender Fred Hoiberg and then Jim Boylen could trust, and he played in the final 72 Bulls games last season at almost 20 minutes a night.

He will be back with the Bulls next season, the team announced.

While not announced, this is a one-year minimum contract. The Bulls waived Harrison back on July 6 as they remade the roster, but Harrison played one game at Summer League for the Bulls and they decided to bring him back.

Harrison is a Boylen favorite — he plays hard and defends well — and while minutes will be harder to come by behind Tomas Satoransky and Coby White, Harrison is a guy Boylen wants on the bench.

Dunn is on the roster at point guard, too, but the Bulls are rumored to be looking to trade him and his $5.4 million salary. Chicago will likely have to throw in a sweetener, like a decent second-round pick, to make that happen.

Nike countersues Kawhi Leonard over ‘Klaw’ logo

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“My mind on my money and my money on my mind.”
—Snoop Dogg

Nike and Kawhi Leonard are going to court over control of his “Klaw” logo, and it’s all about money and brand.

Leonard left Nike last season, eventually signing with New Balance, and he wants to be able to market his Klaw logo as part of his line with his new company. Leonard and his representatives sued Nike for control of the logo, saying Leonard came up with it in his own drawings.

Nike has countersued and said Leonard did not design the logo. Tim Bontemps of ESPN had these quotes from the countersuit itself.

“In this action, Kawhi Leonard seeks to re-write history by asserting that he created the ‘Claw Design’ logo, but it was not Leonard who created that logo. The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of NIKE designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted…

“In his Complaint, Leonard alleges he provided a design to NIKE. That is true. What is false is that the design he provided was the Claw Design. Not once in his Complaint does Leonard display or attach either the design that he provided or the Claw Design. Instead, he conflates the two, making it appear as though those discrete works are one and the same. They are not.”

TMZ posted the designs.

I’m not about to guess what a judge would decide in this case. Most likely, this gets settled one way or another.

Meanwhile, New Balance is trying to come up with a new slogan for Leonard and his gear. King of the North is now out after his move to the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

J.R. Smith reportedly meets with Bucks to talk contract

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After five seasons in Cleveland, the Cavaliers waived J.R. Smith. The 34-year-old veteran wing is not part of the Cavaliers future, and by waiving him before the guarantee date they only had to pay him $4.4 million of this $15.7 million salary.

That makes Smith a free agent.

He sat down with the Bucks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Bucks can only offer minimum contracts at this point.

Smith will turn 34 before next season starts and his skills are in decline, he shot just 30.8 percent from three last season. The Bucks will likely start Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews on the wing with Sterling Brown, Pat Connaughton, and Donte DiVincenzo behind them. They have the roster spot to make the addition. The questions are does Smith fit, does he want the small role that’s really available, and how often will he wear a shirt around the facility?