Update: Gayle Benson denied this.
The Pelicans reportedly completely opposed trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers, his preferred destination.
But that was before New Orleans hired David Griffin to run the front office.
It wasn’t totally clear who within the Pelicans was against even considering a Lakers offer and whether that person/those people still hold power. Former New Orleans general manager Dell Demps appeared to have a strained relationship with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. Mickey Loomis, an executive who oversaw both the Pelicans and Saints, came up in football. With a background in a sport where players have far less power, he might have dug in his heels about Davis getting his way.
But Pelicans owner Gayle Benson fired Demps and said the new lead executive would report directly to her, not to Loomis.
So, will anyone left in New Orleans stop a trade of Davis to the Lakers?
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:
We have been told, I think, through channels – most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt – that Gayle Benson has basically told him, “To the Lakers, over my dead body.”
If this is how Benson feels, she’s making a mistake. If trading Davis, the Pelicans should take the best offer they can get – no matter which team makes it.
That might be the Lakers, who can send some combination of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and the No. 4 pick. Other teams – looking at you, Celtics – have better assets. But it’s unclear which of those assets will be on the table.
If the Lakers make what he deems to be the best offer, Griffin has the responsibility of convincing Benson to approve it. It’s tough to predict his likelihood of success, considering we don’t know precisely why she’s so against trading Davis to Los Angeles.
Does she just not want Davis to get his way? Does she resent how Davis and his agent Rich Paul, who also represents Lakers superstar LeBron James, handled this situation? Does she envy the Lakers’ big market and all the advantages that affords them (like becoming Davis’ preferred destination)? Something else entirely?
Before trying to convince Benson, Griffin is still trying – and so far failing – to convince Davis to stay. Only if that fails will he then work on Benson.
And of course only if the Lakers make the best offer.