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Trajan Langdon real deal; Pelicans prioritizing likes of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in 2019 NBA Draft

Imagine living in a world where Jrue, Ja and Zion take the court together under the watchful eye of this all-star front office!

Trajan Langdon took time out of his busy schedule this morning to hold a conference call with the media, and the episode only further validated the importance of the New Orleans Pelicans adding the highly regarded executive as their new general manager.

Once Langdon began answering questions, it quickly became evident as to why he’s received so many interviews for top positions within front offices across the NBA over these last few years. His communication is flawless, his resume is inspiring and his various experiences up to this point in his life have molded together such a unique and knowledgable perspective that should provide New Orleans with a competitive advantage in the league.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans-Press Conference Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After David Griffin touched on short but fond memories of his time with Langdon and his family in Cleveland, the Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations lavished more praise on his newest hire: “I think this falls very much in line with what we said we were going to be about at the press conference. We’re going to attract and gather as much of the best and brightest that we possibly can here. The commitment Mrs. Benson has made to this process is total.”

Griffin would later delve into Trajan’s international experiences, saying his connections and knowledge of overseas basketball will greatly enhance a Pelicans scouting department that honestly deserves a little more credit.

Langdon, himself, revealed that he was motived by the challenge in New Orleans of “doing something special in a place that nobody believes it can be done.” He also talked about how he envisions his G League experiences (Trajan was named the 2018-19 G League Executive of the Year) will assist the Pelicans in unearthing their own team in Erie, Pennsylvania next season, and he gave some insight into his future role and responsibilities within the front office. In addition, Langdon didn’t hold back his excitement about coming aboard an organization possessing the first overall pick of the 2019 Draft.

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

“Well, I think you can look at history and see how many number-one picks have changed the direction of franchises,” said Langdon. “There’s obviously some good players in the top of the draft and we’re going to do our due diligence in terms of finding the right one that fits the direction of our franchise, but it’s obviously a game-changer and one that we’re excited about, one that I was excited about and one that Griff was excited about. I was excited for David before he even approached me, but once he approached me about wanting to come in and join the franchise, already having that number-one pick, made it very, very exciting, and I think it’s something that the city and the organization can be very excited about going forward.”

However, towards the end of this call, the topic changed to how some of the events unfolded during the draft lottery last week. After quickly dismissing any concerns about a blue chip prospect having issue with coming to New Orleans — “I’m certain that’s a false narrative,” I got major goosebumps for the second time this week...

The logic behind an attempt to pair Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in New Orleans exists!

During last week’s conference call, an elated Griffin remarked, “This draft was really deep in terms of the number of kids that are the type of human beings that you want to build with, and will connect will Jrue on a human level, with Jrue’s family on a human level, and that’s meaningful for us. Whereas typically one of the reasons you want to avoid an 18- and 19-year-old player being called upon to be important and a 29-year-old player being called upon to be important because they are at such divergence places in their career. This draft gives us the opportunity to find people that are like-minded with Jrue because he’s still hungry like he’s never achieved anything. And that’s really special in the form of a player as talented as he is.”

Then today, Griffin echoed, “We’ve sat with multiple players that we’re looking at for that first pick. In fact, in the case of Zion Williamson, {we} sat with he and his family. Alvin Gentry and I sat with he and his parents the night of the lottery. The NBA had set it up to where if you won the lottery you met with Zion at a particular time, and we were able to do that. Alvin and I did that together and Alvin and I were also together in interviewing Ja Morant in Chicago as well. I think because we’ve sat with those kids, who are both incredible human beings and all about all of the right things, we know unequivocally that either one of them would be thrilled to join us in New Orleans and they’re both very much excited about the concept.”

Zion Williamson is awesome and he wants to come to New Orleans, Ja Morant has green-lighted such a scenario as well! How about the idea of the Pelicans finding a way to put both of them on next season’s roster?!

Look, David Griffin is a fan of high quality human beings. So too is Trajan Langdon. Jrue Holiday is the living and breathing embodiment of what New Orleans seeks. The Pelicans have identified both Zion Williamson and Ja Morant as fitting the Holiday mold of exceptional basketball ability and possessing the right stuff in every nook and cranny.

Let’s say that Griffin and his crew are unable to get Anthony Davis to buy-in and keep him in New Orleans any longer than he has to. Could a deal be constructed that includes Memphis, who owns the second overall pick of the 2019 Draft, or if they pass on Morant in favor of RJ Barrett, a Davis trade package with the Knicks for their third overall selection?

In case you missed it, Preston attempted to discover that answer for himself and he elicited the help of Shawn Coleman from Grizzly Bear Blues. If you haven’t yet read the article, the answers may surprise you.

While it would be extremely hard to pry Morant from the Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers certainly have the capability. The concept as to ‘why’ is simple. Memphis’s current roster certainly has a need to gain as many assets as possible, and that becomes even more true with the good chance Mike Conley is traded this summer. The Lakers have good young talent, and also are just two picks behind the Grizzlies at pick four.

Just last year, we saw the Atlanta Hawks trade the rights to Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a future first. The Grizzlies certainly could make that same move with their second pick. If Memphis views Darius Garland as being close in future value to Morant, they could trade back to four, pick Garland, and gain a future first or young player, such as Brandon Ingram. Another avenue could be that if the Grizzlies have a high opinion of Lonzo Ball, they could take him and the number four pick or a future first as well. While Memphis may need to add a bit on their end to compete a deal, in either case, the Grizzlies get a point guard for the future, as well as another young building block.

As can be seen, it is very logical that the Lakers could offer enough to get Morant.

And regarding the Knicks:

I could take a lot of my perspective about the Lakers scenario and apply it to the idea of the Knicks trading up for Morant. With the Grizzlies needing as many assets as possible, the Knicks have the ability to offer a package that makes sense for Memphis. Furthermore, since they are further from contention that the Lakers, and also offer the chance for the Grizzlies to draft RJ Barrett, they are a more attractive trading partner.

Simply put, the Grizzlies need a young, talented guard for their future with Conley potentially being traded. The Knicks have young point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina on their roster. If New York were to offer one of those two, the Grizzlies would have to consider its options. Personally, if the Knicks offered DSJ and the third pick, the Grizzlies should immediately accept.

We know that Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are both seen as great fits under the Griffin’s regime. While it’s the opinion of just one person, a trade scenario doesn’t sound far-fetched. And when you factor this with Langdon’s approach of wanting “to build this organization the right way with the right people and have sustainable excellence,” why not try and pluck the two best players from the 2019 Draft and have them grow together alongside Holiday and anyone else this new Pelicans front office deems worthy?

In less than two months time, New Orleans has hired three of the most recognizable and sought-after figures at their respected positions and cashed in a 6.0% chance at the draft lottery. The Pelicans are going to field two very good players and either Anthony Davis or whatever a deal for him nets, say Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or D’Angelo Russell. However, if the braintrust recognizes that Morant can be nearly as instrumental to winning as Williamson, that could conceivably kick off something really, really special. San Antonio special. Perhaps the most dynamic young tandem in the league would reside here and New Orleans could expect to enjoy them for at least the next seven years. And it would be even longer if things work out accordingly and enough W’s accompany the hype.

A dynasty.

In New Orleans.

Yes, it’s so fun to get ahead of one’s self, but why not take a swing at the fences one more time! You’re on a roll!!!