Pelicans news: David Griffin credits Rich Paul for 'smoking out all of the competition' for Lakers in Anthony Davis trade talks
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David Griffin credits Rich Paul for ‘smoking out all of the competition’ for Lakers in Anthony Davis trade talks

David Griffin, Rich Paul, Anthony Davis

New Orleans Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin has nothing but gratitude for Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who cleared the way for the Los Angeles Lakers to be the only team his organization would deal with.

Griffin, who had worked with Paul in the past, thanked the agent for clearing the way to make a deal with the Lakers:

“Rich had done such an effective job of smoking out all of the competition for the Lakers, that we were left with the sense that the best deal is going to very likely come from them,” said Griffin, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And if we can get X-Y-Z, we have to execute the deal.”

Both Griffin and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka acknowledged the fact that the Pelicans weren’t crazy about doing a deal with the Lakers in the initial aftermath of Davis’ trade request. Griffin entered into a complicated situation, given the prior discontent with how the Pelicans had handled trade talks previously.

However, Paul signaled off other teams interested in Davis, most importantly the Celtics — who had the assets necessary to swing a trade. Davis wasn’t fully sold on moving to Boston, which in turn limited what Danny Ainge was willing to offer. Paul explained the situation concisely:

“The last thing you want to do is put a GM in a situation where he trades away an asset and then the guy walks out the door,” Paul says. “Like, you can’t do business that way. So, it’s not really a hard conversation to have.

“And I don’t think it stopped Danny Ainge from trying. It’s just that maybe he didn’t have the deal [he wanted]. He wasn’t willing to give up the young players, which I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t give them up either, if the guy is not going to re-sign back.”

The Lakers ultimately traded Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks for Davis, including their own 2019 No. 4 draft pick, which New Orleans later moved.