NBA Rumors: Perception Is Pelicans Haven't 'Cared Enough' to Hire 'Right People'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans logo in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 116-111. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicansreported hiring of David Griffin as their executive vice president may represent a positive step for the New Orleans Pelicans.

According to The Athletic's William Guillory, there has been a "strong perception" around the NBA that New Orleans "hasn't cared enough to put the right people in place" to help build a contender.

The Athletic's Sam Amick reported earlier this year that All-Star Anthony Davis believed the Pelicans were "less of a priority to ownership than the Saints," which had "been a growing concern." The New Orleans franchises share ownership, and Mickey Loomis is the Saints general manager and Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations.

Times may be changing, though, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that New Orleans gave Griffin full control of basketball operations. 

Per Guillory, it's unclear if Griffin will hire a general manager. The team fired former GM Dell Demps in February following the Davis trade-deadline debacle. Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate reported Griffin may hire a GM as well as assistant GMs, though he will remain the decision-maker.

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Griffin earned a strong reputation for his work in Cleveland from 2014 to 2017. While landing LeBron James in the summer of 2014 played a major role in the team's success, Griffin's ability to shape a roster around the four-time league MVP helped the Cavs become a perennial contender.

Griffin acquired Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, setting the stage for four consecutive Finals appearances and the franchise's first championship. It's important to note that, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Griffin had been working on a Kyrie Irving-for-Paul George trade before his contract expired.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert replaced Griffin with Koby Altman in July 2017. 

Like in Cleveland, Griffin will be tasked with trying to find a trade for a franchise cornerstone. Davis went public with a trade request in January, and while the Pelicans didn't find a deal in February, that will be the first order of business this offseason.

Griffin will not be expected to single-handedly right the ship in New Orleans. Guillory added that there will be "an increased effort to supply the resources and attention needed to compete with some of the other teams around the NBA."

With that, a new era of Pelicans basketball is about to begin.