David Griffin causing issues for Pelicans?
The New Orleans Pelicans just fired head coach Stan Van Gundy. But that may not necessarily be the solution to all that ails them.
John Hollinger of The Athletic reported this week about the relationships Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin had with both Van Gundy and Van Gundy’s predecessor, Alvin Gentry. Hollinger notes observing an incident during a 2019 Pelicans game. Griffin left his seat during a timeout and whispered something to the Pelicans trainer. The trainer then spoke to Gentry, leading to Gentry making a substitution. Gentry was eventually fired in 2020 after just one season of working with Griffin.
Hollinger also reports that Griffin’s relationship with Van Gundy quickly went south as well. Though Van Gundy was Griffin’s chosen successor, it reportedly became obvious by the end of the year that owner Gayle Benson had to remove one of them.
This comes after ex-Pelicans guard JJ Redick personally criticized Griffin for his handling of Redick’s departure from the team. Franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson is also reportedly unhappy with the Pelicans.
It is true that Griffin is an executive with championship pedigree. He helped put together the Cleveland Cavaliers team that won the 2016 NBA title. But his inability to this point to get along with multiple coaches and players in New Orleans may be a pretty significant issue.