David Griffin Saved His Job With Another Splash Move
There was plenty of buzz about the New Orleans Pelicans making a move to bring in a veteran guard before February 10th's NBA trade deadline. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin saw an opportunity to go "all in" for a playoff push and took it.
After a 3-1 week where star Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram won player of the week in the West, New Orleans currently holds the 10 seed in the conference which would have them in position to participate in the new play-in tournament. This has all been without star Zion Williamson playing a single minute this year. The team has bounced back from a 1-12 start to make a legitimate push for one of the final spots in the playoffs, and that's a testament to head coach Willie Green's ability to motivate his young team to keep grinding during a tough season.
Griffin is rewarding Green with this move. The Pelicans traded away guards Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, and picks to the Portland Trail Blazers for CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, and Tony Snell.
The Trail Blazers are really tanking their roster. They're only a few days removed from having traded Norman Powell and Robert Covington. Those two good players were moved to the Clippers for a return that was highlighted by Eric Bledsoe and a rookie Keon Johnson.
Griffin saw an opportunity to take advantage of a team that was imploding, and he did just that, snagging one of Portland's prized players for a return that honestly isn't that crushing to the current roster. The only player that Pelicans fans should really miss from this deal is Josh Hart, but Griffin was able to move him to get a quality shooting guard that has averaged over 20 points per game in seven consecutive years.
It was ultimately a great move for both Griffin and the Pelicans. There was growing doubts about him entering this season after some questionable decisions in the past, but he has now made two straight excellent moves to add center Jonas Valanciunas and McCollum to this roster.
When a franchise cant attract free agent talent, the only way to really grow is through either the draft or big moves. Griffin and the front office have already extended Valanciunas, who has been playing very well this season. Now he has made a move for a star shooting guard that is under contract through 2024 and fits well with his other pieces.
Griffin has a vision for this roster. In my opinion, when fully healthy, they could remind me of the 2010 Orlando Magic. They're a team that knew they had a dominant paint presence in Dwight Howard and surrounded him with quality shooters. The Pelicans know what they have in Williamson, and they saw what he was able to do with a lack of quality spacing due to poor shooters. Because of that, the move to get guys like Valanciunas and McCollum makes his vision clear.
The New Orleans Pelicans are going all in on making the playoffs this year and finally taking a step forward. And, if they are successful in that, Griffin deserves a lot of credit for these moves that he has made.