New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin came out firing during his introductory press conference on Wednesday afternoon. The former executive with the Cleveland Cavaliers is returning to basketball for the first time since his surprising departure from Cleveland in 2017, and immediately has his hands full with the Anthony Davis situation. 

According to Griffin, the big man’s time in New Orleans may not be over, after all. While he admitted that he’s yet to speak to Davis directly, Griffin hinted that the All-Star could be convinced to stay. Noting his relationship with Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, Griffin told reporters, “We are both excited about what we could potentially build here.”

Griffin did make it clear, though, that he wants a firm answer from Davis in regards to whether he’s in or out. 

Davis, of course, made waves across the league this season when he went public with his trade request. Fined $50,000 by the league for his decision, Davis played sparingly over the remainder of the season. Unable to get a trade done at the deadline, and well out of the playoff race, the Pelicans understandably tried to protect Davis from injury. 

Still, Davis’ demand threw not only the Pelicans’ season into chaos, but the Los Angeles Lakers‘ as well. Magic Johnson and Co. went all out to try and make a trade for Davis happen, and the constant rumors had a negative effect on the locker room, which never really put things back together. 

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry called the situation the most “toxic” he’s seen in his three decades in the NBA. In the wake, Luke Walton was fired as Lakers head coach, Johnson stepped down as Lakers president and Dell Demps was fired as Pelicans GM. As for Gentry, it appears he’s safe under Griffin’s leadership. 

Whether Gentry will still be coaching Davis next season remains to be seen. While Griffin noted the possibility of Davis staying after all, it’s still likely that he gets traded at some point during the summer. But regardless, it was wise for Griffin to take the position he did on Wednesday. The worst that can happen is other teams get nervous about Griffin convincing Davis to stay, and the price to get him in a trade goes up. 

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