As a proud alumn of Wake Forest University, hating any and everything Duke is in my blood.
As a writer tasked with covering the New Orleans Pelicans, I’m starting to come around.
In one week, the Pelicans have gained the opportunity to draft one former Blue Devil in Zion Williamson and today it has been announced that another, Trajan Langdon, will be joining the front office as the team’s general manager.
Langdon has been the assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets since 2016, and not that long ago, interviewed with the Pelicans for the job David Griffin now holds. In fact, Langdon interviewed for the top position within a front office with at least three different teams (Pelicans, Timberwolves, Wizards) over the last few months alone.
Today’s news is certainly another coup for the Pelicans as they continue to rebuild their front office operations and staff.
Langdon is a highly respected young executive who has put a distinctive imprint on the Nets’ organization.
He was charged primarily with scouting and player development in Brooklyn and also served as the GM of the Long Island Nets. The Nets finished 34-16, tied for the best record in the G-League and won the Eastern Conference championship. Langdon was named G-League Executive of the year.
Those skills in particular could be what made Langdon so attractive to the Pelicans. The team will begin operating its own G League affiliate this fall, taking over the Erie (Pa.) Bayhawks for this season before moving the team to Birmingham, Ala., for the 2020-21 season.
With an influx of young players expected in any trade for Anthony Davis, and the constant need to find inexpensive diamonds in the rough, putting in place a great scouting and teaching staff is a must.
So far, Gayle Benson has kept to her word when it comes to assembling a management team to rival any in the league. Add in the Pelicans’ lottery win, and the nearly $1 million in facility upgrades on Airline Highway, New Orleans is quickly working to shed its reputation as a second-class franchise.
Before the 2018-19 season has officially closed for business, the Pelicans have exploded out of the blocks as they run towards the heart of the offseason and its myriad of questions. It is hard not to be encouraged, if not outright excited about the possibilities.
While these moves haven’t been made specifically with keeping Anthony Davis in the fold, one can’t help but wonder if he isn’t paying attention and reconsidering that ill-fated trade request which went public in late January, ruining the seasons of the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers.
David Griffin— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) May 19, 2019
And now, Trajan Langdon
If these hires fail to move the needle for Anthony Davis come his meeting with the Pelicans this week, it'll show winning in New Orleans isn't on the table.
And that'll be sad if championships are main priority.
Pelicans fans and experts alike certainly are.