New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, David GriffinFOX Sports New Orleans Interview
David, I have to start with some exciting developments at shootaround this morning. We saw Zion Williamson out on the court, putting up some light shooting. It was electric and energized everybody so much. What is the progress he is making, where is he in his recovery?
“Yeah, we are really excited about where he’s at. He’s made really good progress. I know we’ve reached that eight week point and everyone is ready to see him. I think we are a little ways away yet. But today was a really big first step. He’s in an important time for him because he is now fully weight-bearing, so if we’re going to see a setback we would see it now. But the teammates, the way they respond to him, the joy he has when he is on the floor is evident and we’ve obviously needed that.”
It was so much fun to watch. Now, I have to ask you, an inflammatory report from The New York Times today that the face of the franchise, Jrue Holiday is now actually on the trade market. Griff, is Jrue indeed available if the price is right?
“So, this is one of these things that’s crazy about this time of year because you can clock when these conversations are going to happen. So, December 15th just passed which is when everyone that signed as a free agent can be traded. So teams that would hope to acquire something from a team like ours, that’s really struggling to win games, is looking at us as a target. Absolutely nothing has changed at all in our approach to this situation or to the season. Everyone wants to believe that Jrue (Holiday), JJ (Redick), or Fave (Derrick Favors) would be available because we are not winning, and that’s natural. But, the reality is nothing has changed our position at all. I think back quite often to the fact that when we were in Cleveland, everybody knew we were a buyer, so everybody said we were interested in people. People identify us as a seller now because of our results, and nothing factual has taken place at all.”
Those rumors can be detrimental to a locker room and a player’s psyche. Have you addressed these rumors with Jrue (Holiday) at all?
“So this is funny actually. The irony in this is pretty funny. I was with Jrue (Holiday) yesterday. We had a conversation, and I explained exactly what I just said to you all about December 15th. I said, ‘I can write it down in blood that there will be a story that we should trade you or are trying to trade you.’ It just so happened that it came the very next day, so we actually laughed about it.”
So you are not trying to trade Jrue Holiday?
“Clearly not, no.”
Upcoming road trip, what are you looking to accomplish when the Pelicans go on this Christmas swing?
“I think we need to see us come together a little bit, and this game here has been a good start in terms of our defensive intensity, but we’ve had absolutely no continuity. We need to start to build in a way that makes sense. Obviously, everyone is going to continue to look at us as a team that’s underachieving until we turn the corner, and it’s our job to listen to things.”