Since taking over as the head of basketball operations for the Pelicans, David Griffin has made a point about keeping Anthony Davis around. He is addressing the concerns Davis (and others) had about the organization, upgrading the medical and training staff, upgrading the analytics and scouting departments, and is working on adding more talent to the roster — starting with Zion Williamson.
With that, Griffin has been very public about his desire to keep Davis. He’s taken a “why can we be Oklahoma City with Paul George?” approach, even if that has felt like spin at points.
He’s going to get his chance today, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
It likely changes nothing and Griffin will be working on trading Davis around the draft.
It’s a good move for Griffin to make this push, both to show the fan base how committed he is and to show other agents (and free agents) about the changes in the organization. It’s good PR.
Why can’t the Pelicans be Oklahoma City with Paul George? Because George came in with an open mind. He had tried to force his way to the Lakers out of Indiana, the Lakers knew it and lowballed offers figuring he would come as a free agent, and then the Thunder went all-in to land George. He got there feeling wanted by a team he didn’t have a bad history with.
That’s not Davis. There is a lot of bad history with him and the Pelicans — perceived or not, it’s his reality — and Griffin is going to have a very difficult time erasing that lack of trust in a few weeks and one meeting.
What would help Griffin is for Davis to feel more comfortable so that Griffin can drive a harder bargain. If Griffin is willing to start the season with Davis next to Zion — and he very well may be — it will show teams they need to come to the table with their best offers or the Pelicans will just wait it out.
The smart money is still on Davis getting traded around the draft — even if that trade cannot be executed until after July 1 — but there are other options out there. Today is just the start of that process.