Thanks to a few fateful ping pong balls, the New Orleans Pelicans are playing a new game this offseason with the likely addition of phenom Zion Williamson.
The new man calling the shots for the Pelicans, executive vice president David Griffin, is hoping that might lead to a new conversation with the team’s past phenom Anthony Davis, who has spent the last few months making it quite clear he wants out of New Orleans.
While introducing new team GM Trajan Langdon, Griffin told reporters that he plans to sit down with Davis during draft workouts to see if he can sell the star on the team’s new direction.
"We'll probably sit together in Los Angeles at some point around the draft workouts that take place there," Griffin said Tuesday during a conference call to introduce Langdon. "And I think that's the next step — really to look each other in the eye and talk about what's important to us. And we're very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he's about. We're very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.
"And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create — and are creating — the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-caliber players of all types to want to be a part of. This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process."
Whether or not Davis really finds that situation “compelling” is up to Davis, and there has been no indication, even after the lottery, that his mind has changed. Playing for a winning team next to Williamson might be fun, but Davis could also still prefer playing next to LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers or some other contender.
Of course, the beauty of winning the most important draft lottery since their last draft lottery win in 2012 is that the Pelicans will either be getting Williamson and Davis or Williamson and a new core of young assets.
Keeping Davis is the faster road to truly contending for a title, but neither option is unappealing.
The matter of Williamson being rumored to be less than thrilled about his likely New Orleans landing spot also came up with Griffin. Williamson’s stepfather has already strongly denied that chatter and Griffin predictably took a similar tone, outright saying he is “certain that's a false narrative.”
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