Pelicans find new front office head; How it impacts Celtics’ pursuit of Anthony Davis
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis made it clear by way of a t-shirt: That’s all, folks (in New Orleans).
He’s gone. He wants out. And the Pelicans — an organization that cleared out their front office this season in the immediate aftermath of Dell Demps’ failure to trade Davis at the deadline — have finally found their man to make that happen with the reported hiring of David Griffin as the team’s new president of basketball operations.
In case the name is unfamiliar, Griffin comes to the Pelicans after some extensive TV work since stepping down from his post with the Cavaliers in June 2017. It was with the Cavaliers that Griffin successfully brought LeBron James back to The Land, traded for Kevin Love, and helped construct the roster that captured an NBA championship in 2015.
Now he’s the man overseeing the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes.
Those sweeps will certainly involve the Celtics, by the way.
But what does Griffin’s move to New Orleans means for the Celtics’ hot pursuit of the 26-year-old Davis?
Well, for one, it definitely means that the Celtics are not going to swindle the Pelicans like they most certainly could have done with Demps or then-interim GM Danny Ferry. Griffin’s been here before, and he by all means got this job because the Pelicans believe he’s the man that can best maximize the return on what will be a definite franchise-altering trade.
Griffin, meanwhile, has already outlined what he would be looking for in a trade involving the six-time All-Star.
Here’s David Griffin on what his ‘Anthony Davis plan’ would be if he was in charge.— Sahal Abdi (@sAbdi28) April 12, 2019
Looks like he got his wish — he’s just been hired by the New Orleans Pelicans. pic.twitter.com/ALq31iKw8T
“If I was holding their cards, I would probably want to be in a situation where I got at least one young player that projected potentially to be a star,” Griffin said in a Jan. 29 segment on NBA TV. “Draft picks, an elite role player — somebody that could really further the cause for us as a winner because when you’re bringing more young kids to the floor, you need those players to galvanize a group.”
Griffin nows holds those cards, making the general outline of a potential Davis-to-Boston deal clear as day.
If it’s a young star Griffin’s Pelicans seek, they would find that in the form of Celtics wing Jayson Tatum.
The second-year shooter reportedly wouldn’t mind a trade to New Orleans, for what it’s worth. This where the Celtics presumably have a leg up on the Lakers, you’d think, given Tatum’s experience as the focal point of an offensive attack (see: the Kyrie-less, Hayward-less postseason run the C’s went on in 2018). The Celtics would likely try to counter with Jaylen Brown — hoping to extend their window with a potential Kyrie-Tatum-Davis Big Three — but Tatum fits the bill as that young player projected to be a star infinitely more than Brown does at this point in his career.
Oh, and draft picks? Boy do the Celtics still have a bucket of those.
And when it comes to elite role players, there’s no doubt there’s some of those in Boston; Terry Rozier, a pending restricted free agent, would check off that box. He also has some playoff experience as a starter. Then there’s Marcus Smart (though the Celtics absolutely love him and would pretty much wanna trade any other role player), and maybe even pending unrestricted free agent Marcus Morris would be open to a sign-and-trade that gets him paid by the Pelicans.
Whether or not the Celtics go all-in on Davis, a player who reportedly has almost zero interest in staying with the Celtics beyond the single season left on his current contract, remains to be seen.
But at least now they know what it’ll probably cost, for better or worse.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.