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David Griffin Spills the Beans on Trade Deadline Madness: Prepare to Be Infuriated!


Executive Vice President David Griffin explained why the Pelicans did nothing at the trade deadline during a recent game.

New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin heard the grumbling from fans and noted the leaks from other front offices. A few loud corners of the fanbase wanted to see some roster movement without much concern for locker-room chemistry. Griffin addressed both with reasoning and logic during Friday’s in-game TV interview.

Granted, it was tough to watch Brandon Ingram revert to old habits in the loss but Griffin still joined Joel Meyers and Antonio Daniels on the broadcast while the Pelicans played the Los Angeles Lakers. The trio jumped right into the subject of sticking with the status quo in New Orleans this season.

“Our job is to capitalize on the right opportunity,” Griffin explained. “We’re really blessed to have a group (of Pelicans players) that we just really believe in. I said this earlier today at (Friday’s) shootaround, you’ve got to be a really good NBA player to be better than the guys who are playing off the bench right now. Sometimes you want to do something, and sometimes you force a square peg into a round hole.”

Jonas Valanciunas is a very consistent peg regardless of fit. The Pelicans were rumored to be looking for a big upgrade on the low block but none were to be found. Swapping out starting centers made little sense for New Orleans, who stuck with the known quantity. The decision factored in far more than just on-court talent.

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“We’ve got a group that not only enjoys playing together but there’s a spirit to them and camaraderie to them that’s really unique,” Griffin shared. “You do worry about changing that. It’s one thing to want to get better; it’s another thing to do harm. Unless you’re going to move the needle, doing harm is a bigger concern for us.”

Pelicans plan

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans, David Griffin

Other front offices should take notice. The Pelicans do not make lateral moves just to say they did something. They also do not appreciate leaks of exploratory conversations. Dejounte Murray might have been a trade target but the Atlanta Hawks were told Herb Jones was off the table. Once Jones was mentioned in the media, Griffin’s front office left the phone off the hook when those same teams circled back for more deal-making.

“What’s infuriating is sometimes the quickest calls are the ones that end up in the media the next day,” Griffin said. “Sometimes (another team calls and) says, ‘Would you do X for Y (in a trade)?’ and you say (back to them), ‘Hell no!’ but then all of a sudden (there’s a headline the next day) that Y is available in (trades). It’s really hard to get your mind around sometimes.”

The locker room has 29 games remaining in the regular season. The Pelicans can prove Griffin correct by making a deep postseason run. If not, even Griffin will have to admit tough decisions are in order before next season. Having Zion Williamson and Ingram locked up to long-term contracts makes roster building a bit easier. Falling short of the goals yet again with Williamson and Ingram would all but necessitate some changes this summer.

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