As if David Griffin wasn’t already under enough scrutiny, now he is the subject of a WWE-like storyline.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported this week that the New Orleans Pelicans executive had a heated run-in with former Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry during a recent home game. Gentry, who is now the associate head coach for the Sacramento Kings, was in New Orleans on Oct. 29 for Sacramento’s contest against the Pelicans. After the game, a 113-109 victory for the Kings, Griffin reportedly approached Gentry to offer a warm hello. However, Gentry brushed off his efforts as inauthentic.
Gentry was apparently upset about a recent article by NOLA.com claiming that Griffin used to lament to team and league officials that he would give Gentry “all the answers to the test, and he still fails.” Griffin reportedly denied the findings of the article to Gentry, but Gentry replied back with some choice words.
“You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either,” an irritated Gentry allegedly shouted at Griffin during the run-in. This was a reference to Stan Van Gundy, who succeeded Gentry as coach of the Pelicans but was fired after just one season as well. Fischer adds that the two men then had to be separated.
Gentry was head coach of the Pelicans for five seasons from 2015 to 2020. Griffin arrived as New Orleans’ head of basketball operations in 2019 but fired Gentry after just one season of working together. Fischer’s report adds that Griffin was widely known to covet Tyronn Lue, his former colleague on the Cleveland Cavaliers, instead of Gentry.
The Pelicans have not exactly fared well since Gentry’s firing. Under Van Gundy last season, they went 31-41 and did not even qualify for the play-in tournament. Under new head coach Willie Green, the Pelicans are now a league-worst 1-11 this season. They have also faced questions about their handling of superstar Zion Williamson’s injury. Now they can add some more bad press for the embattled Griffin to their list of woes.
Photo: Jul 5, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New Orleans Pelicans general manager David Griffin in attendance against the New York Knicks during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Zion Williamson’s health is now officially a cause for concern, and the New Orleans Pelicans’ statements about it are complicating matters even further.
Pelicans executive David Griffin announced Thursday that Williamson will miss the start of the regular season with his foot injury. The All-Star forward will be re-evaluated in two weeks and currently has no timetable to return.
The injury is not a new one, as Griffin told the media roughly three weeks ago that Williamson underwent surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot suffered earlier in the summer. But at the time, Griffin said that Williamson’s timeline “should get him back on the court in time for the regular season.”
On Thursday though, Griffin tried to backtrack by saying that he had meant Williamson would be back some time during the regular season, not at the start. Griffin also said that “nothing has gone wrong” with Williamson in terms of a setback since his earlier comments.
Any reasonable person would take Griffin’s “in time for the regular season” comment to mean the start of the regular season. If player was expected out until March (still technically the regular season), nobody would say of him before the season began, “We expect him back on the court in time for the regular season.” Thus, Griffin’s comments come across as confusing and self-contradictory, especially since Williamson did not suffer a setback.
What is even more concerning is that Williamson reportedly was already unhappy with the way that Griffin and the Pelicans handled an injury that he had in his rookie season. The Pelicans’ conflicting comments about his latest injury bring to mind the Grand Theft Auto “here we go again” meme.
Photo: Mar 4, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) laughs while warming up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
In light of a recent unflattering report about New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin, Zion Williamson is cracking a funny joke at his expense … particularly about rumors that Griffin once tried to cosplay as Liberace.
At Monday’s Media Day, Williamson was asked about a report that emerged last week claiming that Griffin played the piano for him during the 2020 Orlando bubble in an effort to bond.
“Nah, he didn’t play the piano,” said a laughing Williamson. “I think he only had a little keyboard with him that he brought to the bubble to try to learn how to play maybe. But outside that, no, he didn’t play no piano for me.
“Come on now, guys,” Williamson went on. “I’m not letting a grown man come to my hotel room and play a piano for me.”
The report made many other explosive claims beyond just the piano story. Among them were rumors that Griffin is widely disliked in the organization and that Williamson was unhappy with the way that Griffin handled his knee injury as a rookie. You can read all of the details here.
As for Griffin’s musical skills, while there are plenty of talented piano players in the NBA, Griffin does not appear to be one of them.
The New Orleans Pelicans made a big splash when they hired David Griffin to run their basketball operations department in 2019. Griffin is viewed as one of the better executives in the NBA after he built a championship team around LeBron James in Cleveland, but apparently those who work with him are not all that fond of him.
Christian Clark of NOLA.com published a lengthy article on Wednesday that pulled back the curtain on some of the supposed dysfunction that exists within the Pelicans organization. Clark was told by sources that some team employees have grown to “actively dislike” Griffin. One of the ways they expressed that to one another was by referring to Griffin as “Griff Krause.”
That is a reference to Jerry Krause, who was the general manager of the Chicago Bulls when they won six titles. Krause has widely been blamed for breaking up the Bulls dynasty. He butted heads with Michael Jordan over personnel moves and alienated Phil Jackson. Some of the issues with Krause were highlighted in “The Last Dance” documentary series last year, though he is not alive to share his side of the story.
According to Clark, people with the Pelicans were unhappy with how Griffin handled Alvin Gentry’s firing after the 2019-20 season. Griffin blamed Gentry for New Orleans’ struggles earlier that season, though some did not feel the head coach was at fault. In one exchange, Griffin supposedly arrogantly told someone, “I give Alvin all the answers to the test, and he still fails.”
There were also issues between Zion Williamson and Griffin. The former No. 1 overall pick was reportedly unhappy with the way the Pelicans handled his knee injury his rookie year, which led to him having a poor relationship with Griffin.
Believe it or not, Griffin is not the only executive who has been mocked using the Krause comparison.
The Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy after one season and have replaced him with Willie Green. Their young roster, lead by Williamson and Brandon Ingram, has a lot of talent. If the team continues to struggle, the internal issues with Griffin could come to a boil.
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat are both under investigation for possible tampering violations, and JJ Redick thinks he knows who blew the whistle.
Redick took another shot at New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin this week on his “The Old Man and the Three” podcast. Redick indicated that Griffin was the one who snitched to the league about tampering.
“It’s a little bit for show probably, I guess,” he said of the NBA investigation. “I don’t know. I think you would probably have to ask the guy who’s asking for the investigation. Some teams cleared a ton of cap space to get Kyle [Lowry], and it didn’t happen. And then Lonzo leaving so you have to ask that guy, that guy complaining.”
It is not hard to tell that Redick was referring to Griffin. Ball left Griffin’s Pelicans to sign with the Bulls. New Orleans was also mentioned as one of the teams with interest in signing Lowry before he ended up with the Heat.
Redick has his own personal axe to grind with Griffin. He was not pleased with Griffin for trading him to the Dallas Mavericks, saying Griffin broke his word to trade Redick to a city closer to Redick’s family. But seeing as the Pelicans had ties to both free agents linked to the tampering probe, it is not too far-fetched that Griffin was the one who sounded the alarm.
H/T NBA Reddit
Stan Van Gundy lasted just one season with the New Orleans Pelicans, and now he is explaining what led to his disconnect with executive David Griffin.
Van Gundy appeared this week on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.” During this episode, Van Gundy spoke on his rocky relationship with Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans.
“I felt that the focus should be on what went on on the court,” Van Gundy said, per Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “What was good. What was bad. All of that. I think that Griff was concerned with the atmosphere around the team and the happiness of people and things like that. I think that was probably the biggest difference.
“If I would’ve gone into a meeting and somebody were to say, ‘Hey, you were 31-41, and that’s not good enough,’ I have no problem with that,” Van Gundy went on. “That’s what we sign up for in this business. Regardless of the circumstances, that’s what we sign up for in this business. But that’s not what it came down to or what I heard.”
What is interesting is that Griffin was already in place in New Orleans before the team hired Van Gundy. Usually most problems that arise between head coaches and executives occur when the head coach is hired first. But the two men were clearly never on the same page, as the Pelicans failed to even make the play-in tournament despite having young stars like Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball.
Van Gundy probably shouldn’t feel too bad though. Recent reports have indicated that Griffin has been difficult to work with in New Orleans no matter who the coach is.
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.
David Griffin was furious with the NBA over the injury Zion Williamson suffered on Friday, and the way the New Orleans Pelicans executive voiced his frustration has cost him a large sum of money.
The NBA announced on Sunday that Griffin has been fined $50,000 for “public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA.”
Williamson suffered a fractured finger on his left hand during the Pelicans’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. The team said he will be sidelined indefinitely, which is going to make it much more difficult for New Orleans to qualify for the play-in tournament.
Griffin was obviously upset by the news, and he decided to lash out at NBA officials for not doing enough to protect Williamson. You can read Griffin’s comments here.
The Pelicans entered Sunday in 11th place in the Western Conference. They’re two games back of the No. 10 seed San Antonio Spurs with just five games remaining in the regular season.
New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin is furious about Zion Williamson’s injury — and what he thinks led to it.
Williamson is out indefinitely with a broken left ring finger, jeopardizing the Pelicans’ fading playoff hopes and potentially ending the star forward’s season. In a frustrated media session Friday, Griffin blamed NBA officials for failing to protect Williamson, adding that the forward is now hurt because he is “mauled” in the paint regularly and nothing is done about it.
Griffin’s frustration is certainly understandable, and he probably has a fine coming his way for these comments. At a certain point, though, there’s only so much you can do to protect a player like Williamson. He’s going to be playing in the paint, and there will be contact. Even if referees are calling everything, it doesn’t mean he won’t get hit.
You can understand Griffin’s frustration. After all, Williamson had a similar injury scare a little over a month ago. That mostly outlines the nature of the game, not that the referees didn’t do enough to protect him.
Veteran guard J.J. Redick accused New Orleans Pelicans executive VP David Griffin and the team’s front office of dishonest treatment surrounding Redick’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks.
On Wednesday, Redick spent time on his “Old Man & the Three” podcast discussing the Pelicans’ handling of him this season. He said he had requested a trade in November, in part because of the difficulties of his family in Brooklyn to come visit him during the season. Redick claims Griffin told him to come down for a month and if that did not change Redick’s mind, the Pelicans would find a situation elsewhere that he was happy with.
Redick went on to say that he expected to be bought out once a trade did not happen by February, and was “shocked’ when he was shipped to the Mavericks, saying the team never came up in discussions with New Orleans.
“I don’t think you’re going to get honesty from that front office, objectively speaking,” Redick said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “That’s not an opinion, I just don’t think you’re gonna get that. I don’t think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident. I think front offices around the league operate in their best interest. I get that. I understand that.
“Truthfully… I think I was a little naive thinking I was in Year 15 and I attempted to do things right throughout my career. But in terms of this front office, yeah, it’s not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again.”
It’s certainly not great for the Pelicans if this reputation sticks. Players pay attention to this sort of thing, and Redick’s bad experience might resonate with others. It could potentially lead to some veterans thinking twice before agreeing to join the Pelicans depending on the circumstances.
Maybe the father of one of Redick’s ex-teammates actually has a point about the New Orleans organization.
Photo: Verse Photography/Flickr via CC-by-SA 2.0