On Tuesday night in Chicago, the New Orleans Pelicans, despite measly six percent odds, somehow won the most important NBA draft lottery in over a decade. A team that was recently seen as a laughingstock now controls the rights to generational talent Zion Williamson, as well as one of the NBA’s best centers in Anthony Davis, and one of the best point guards, Jrue Holiday. They have also recently added respected front office boss David Griffin, as well as Aaron Nelson, the revered athletic trainer.
Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry had no way of knowing New Orleans would win the lottery, and the two of them were physically separated when it happened. (Gentry was locked in the room with the pingpong balls where the drawing happens in secret, Griffin was on the stage for the telecast.) So they had no chance to discuss their PR strategy.
But they both had exactly the same thoughts once they learned the Pelicans had the top overall pick: keep Anthony Davis. ESPN’s Zach Lowe quotes Griffin saying "We can be Oklahoma City with Paul George. We can hold onto [Davis] and let him see what we really are. [Winning the lottery] changes how quickly he can buy into it. It gets us closer. Every day, maybe he believes a little more. As much as elite talent likes to play with elite talent, I can't imagine any elite player in his prime looking at our situation and saying to himself, 'There's a better grouping to play for' than ours."
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix writes: “When former The Vertical writer Adrian Wojnarowski remarked on the telecast that the Lakers moving up could sweeten the pot in a Davis deal, Gentry muttered, “Not so fast, my friend.” When it became clear that the Pelicans would land in the top-four, Wojnarowski reminded viewers that Griffin’s top priority was to convince Davis to stay. Said Gentry, “Thank you!”
Meanwhile, Anthony Davis—despite a year left on his contract—has made extremely clear he wants a trade, and a who’s who of deep-pocketed NBA franchises, the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, are reportedly eager to make generous offers. There have already been reports that Davis still wants a trade. So …
What can we expect now? It’s too delicious a question. Please join David Thorpe and me to discuss at noon ET, Wednesday May 15.