Pelicans lead executive David Griffin – while Alvin Gentry coached the team in 2019-20 – reportedly told people, “I give Alvin all the answers to the test, and he still fails.”
Griffin fired Gentry after a 30-42 season. Gentry landed with the Kings as an assistant coach. New Orleans hired Stan Van Gundy (who went 31-41), fired Van Gundy, hired Willie Green and has started this season 1-11.
As ugly as this year has been for Griffin and the Pelicans, it apparently got particularly contentious after Sacramento beat the Pelicans a week ago.
Griffin approached Gentry in the bowels of Smoothie King Center to offer a warm hello to his former head coach, yet Gentry brushed off his initial efforts as inauthentic.
From there, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the incident, Griffin denied the findings of the NOLA.com article, particularly his “answers to the test” line, and the notion that he played piano for Williamson during the team’s bubble stay in Disney World.
“You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either,” Gentry shouted at Griffin, according to multiple sources, and the two men had to be physically separated.
Griffin, the Cavaliers’ 2016 championship highlighting his résumé, took over the Pelicans just a couple years ago with bravado.
Now, it feels the walls are caving in on him.
He has had a tough time getting on the same page with franchise player Zion Williamson – including the piano story. Griffin’s timeline for Williamson, who remains sidelined by injury, was ludicrous. Williamson appears to be a flight risk.
By comparison, a dispute with a fired coach barely rates. Gentry being bitter, fairly or unfairly, toward Griffin would be totally understandable. Just because Gentry perceived Griffin to be inauthentic doesn’t mean Griffin is actually a phony.
But this just furthers the notion this is all getting away from Griffin.
If Gentry failed the test and Van Gundy failed the test and Green is failing the test… maybe it’s time to turn to the proctor who claims to have the answers but keeps having friction in his relationships.