Slam dunk: Pelicans addition of David Griffin receives universal praise

by Jim Eichenhofer

The New Orleans Pelicans threw down a few hundred dunks during the 2018-19 regular season, but perhaps none was as significant as the one they produced off the court this week. As illustrated by the “SLAM DUNK” headline that blared atop Sunday’s Times-Picayune newspaper sports section, the decision to bring in David Griffin to lead the Pelicans’ front office generated rave reviews from every corner of the basketball world.

“Landing Griffin was a coup,” wrote Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan in the accompanying article. “He’s intelligent, ambitious and well regarded in league circles.”

That was a reoccurring theme in the overwhelmingly positive reaction to New Orleans hiring Griffin, who also received recent praise beyond what he’s accomplished as a member of NBA front offices in Phoenix and Cleveland.

“I’ve worked in sports for 15 years and met some great people,” tweeted Turner Sports studio host Casey Stern after learning that Griffin was headed to New Orleans. “My friend David Griffin is truly one of the smartest, most genuine people I’ve met.”

Basketball-wise, the move’s universal applause included Kurt Helin of NBC Sports writing, “This is a strong, impressive hire by the Pelicans and their efforts to get the franchise moving in the right direction.” Meanwhile, NBA reporter Sam Amico noted, “David Griffin was a big-time hire for the New Orleans Pelicans.”

Perhaps best of all, omnipresent ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out that as excited as New Orleans should be to add Griffin, the longtime NBA executive’s decision also said something very positive about the Pelicans.

“He had a chance at some other jobs,” Wojnarowski said, alluding to several recent and current front-office openings around the NBA in other cities. “(But) he targeted this one.”

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