From A to Z: Pelicans, Griffin hold all cards
In a truly remarkable development, the New Orleans Pelicans struck professional basketball’s version of oil Tuesday night when they won the right to make the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The last time the local team hit the bonanza in the NBA lottery was 2012 when they selected Anthony Davis with the top pick.
Currently, the Pelicans hold the rights to the first overall pick, as well as the 39th and the 57th picks in the upcoming draft. In one incredible draw, the franchise of Gayle Benson and David Griffin went from one of the undesirable destinations for many players considering “homes” to a go-to scenario.
There is no doubt that Zion Williamson will get the call by the Pelicans on draft night June 20. There will still be some intriguing options at the 39th and maybe the 57th picks.
The elephant in the room now is what to do with Anthony Davis? David Griffin began his opening remarks when he was hired, stating that he would like to retain Anthony Davis if he wanted to be here.
Despite the development of Tuesday night, it will be a difficult sell to keep him. Davis fractured his image in the Big Easy with his words and actions after demanding a trade and then not getting his way.
The sound approach would be to trade Davis, which would command top talent to New Orleans, both of the veteran and youth variety.
In fact, the Pelicans may have the best of both worlds now .
They have the ability to draft Williamson and still deal Davis to New York, the Lakers, the Clippers, Boston or even Cleveland, Chicago or Phoenix. Davis is still a very hot commodity on the open market, along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
I am comfortable with David Griffin now driving the bus for the Pelicans and the total commitment that Gayle Benson has pledged. The Pels hold all the cards and can sit back, consider all options and make the best move with the future in mind for this franchise.
Now that New Orleans has the top pick in its pocket, suitors will come calling with great frequency hoping to pry Davis away with a deal New Orleans cannot refuse..Griffin can take as much time as he wants before deciding which path is best. There is no urgency, at least not yet.
Dell Demps approached the draft with disdain and constantly tried for the quick fix. That was his stamp on the franchise. Now, Griffin is poised to put a forceful stamp on the team that he can model in his own image, from A to Z. Yes, you can imagine Anthony and Zion playing together. It is not out of the question, though it is likely not the final answer.
That’s all, folks!
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…