But as Grubb suggests, this move likely precedes a series of significant front office moves to come, namely the probable hiring of a general manager.
Griffin assumes the role formerly occupied by Mickey Loomis, likely prompting the notion that he will act as overseer to the organization accompanied by the need for a helping hand with day-to-day operations. And while Griffin will likely have final call on any and all player transactions, it appears as if someone else will organize the scouting and player development in his stead.
So who could that candidate be?
The Pelicans had no shortage of notable parties interested when conducting their search and now it’s becoming transparent as to why. Owner Gayle Benson was willing to cede the power that former general manager Dell Demps once wielded with a significant title (and salary) to boot. The Pelicans also have a war chest of possibilities with Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and a significant amount of cap space to employ this offseason.
But would Houston’s Gersson Rossas, Brooklyn’s Trajan Langdon, or Washington’s Tommy Sheppard be interested in working under David Griffin?
While fans would seemingly be thrilled with any of the above mentioned, it seems more likely that Griffin would seek to pull from his extensive list of colleagues.
Bernie Bickerstaff and Stephen Giles were scouts of note to be hired under David Griffin during his time in Cleveland as well as Dan Vincent (Advanced Scouting Manager, Assistant Head Coach). Jon Nichols (Director of Analytics) and Carlos Ojuela (Senior Manager of Analytics) hired much of the numbers and remain in their capacity there under acting General Manager, Koby Altman. Most intriguing would be Mike Gansey, who was promoted to Assistant to General Manager shortly after Altman’s promotion. Gansey could acquire a bit more power in New Orleans while still occupying under the watchful gaze of former employer in Griffin.
Matt Eck (Director of Video Operations) and Raja Bell (Director of Player Administration). Julie Fie and DC Headley (Communications) remain in Phoenix after having been hired by Griffin nearly 20 seasons ago.
Lastly, Griffin’s number two assistant in Cleveland, Trent Redden (thanks, Pawel!).
In addition, Pelicans (current) head coach Alvin Gentry has made himself a valuable part of the Pelicans’ organization and has a notable history with Griffin after coaching under him in Phoenix and interviewing for the same position in Cleveland prior to the hiring of David Blatt. Should Griffin seek to pivot in a different direction at head coach, could Gentry remain on in some manner of a consulting position in the front office?
The Pelicans are taking every studied measure to get it right and point the Pelicans’ collective trajectory forward and upward. Who they inevitably pair alongside Griffin in the effort to get back to contention will be every bit as significant as the hiring of Griffin himself.