Report: David Griffin to Be Named Pelicans Executive VP of Basketball Ops.

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin speaks at a news conference before an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly agreed to a deal to add David Griffin to their front office, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski noted that while Griffin will run basketball operations for the Pelicans, his official title has not be finalized. Wojnarowski then added that his likely title will be executive vice president of basketball operations.

Griffin has not held a position in the NBA since he and the Cleveland Cavaliers failed to come to terms on a new contract in 2017.

The 45-year-old Griffin was Cleveland's general manager from 2014-2017, and he had a significant hand in constructing the roster that went to four straight NBA Finals and won the NBA championship in 2016.

Griffin was GM of the Cavs when LeBron James re-signed with Cleveland following a stint with the Miami Heat. Griffin also orchestrated the trade for Kevin Love, thus giving the Cavs a "Big Three," including Kyrie Irving.

Before his successful stint in Cleveland, Griffin spent 17 seasons with the Phoenix Suns. He was the Suns' vice president of basketball operations for three years before joining the Cavaliers in the same role in 2010.

Griffin could have a difficult task on his hands in New Orleans, as he will be in charge of trading All-Star center Anthony Davis, who announced this season that he will not re-sign with the Pelicans. Since Davis can become a free agent after the 2019-20 season, New Orleans will almost certainly trade him during the offseason.

During an appearance on NBA TV prior to joining the Pelicans, Griffin discussed what he would do if he was in New Orleans' front office: "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 to potentially be a star, draft picks, an elite role player. Somebody that could really further the cause for us as a winner."

Among the teams expected to be in on the Davis sweepstakes are the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Both teams have a number of enticing, young assets that could land them the star they need.

L.A. can offer a package that includes some combination of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, while Boston has Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.

Mark Gunnels of Black Sports Online suggested that Griffin joining the Pels could be beneficial to L.A.'s chances of landing Davis:

Griffin built the Cavaliers' championship roster led by James, which means he has experience working with LeBron's agent, Rich Paul, who also represents Davis. After going 37-45 this season, the Lakers are in desperate need of a running mate for James.

Given Griffin's history with James, he was considering a strong candidate to join the Lakers' front office after Magic Johnson shockingly stepped down as president of basketball operations this week.

Instead, the Pelicans swooped in to nab him in a move that SBNation's Michael Pina praised:

Amid the controversy surrounding Davis, the Pelicans finished just 33-49 this season on the heels of going 48-34 and reaching the second round of the playoffs last season.

If Griffin can get a quality haul in exchange for Davis and add it to a core that includes and potentially forward Julius Randle (if he opts in or the Pelicans re-sign him), New Orleans has a chance to be far more competitive in 2019-20 and beyond.

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