Despite the fact that we’re barely a month into the new season, it has become abundantly clear that David Griffin’s job as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans is anything but secure. According to reports, recent events have led to Griffin now being in danger of getting fired by the organization.
There have been several question marks about how Griffin has handled the whole Zion Williamson situation in New Orleans. Right now, the highly-promising 21-year-old is nursing another injury that has prevented him from making his season debut for the Pelicans. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Griffin’s public handling of Zion’s injury and his extended road to recovery has not exactly been ideal, and this has led to questions as to whether or not he’s the right man for the job in terms of managing the health and the future of the Pelicans’ cornerstone superstar.
The fact that New Orleans currently holds a league-worst 1-11 record isn’t doing Griffin any favors as well. As a matter of fact, this might actually be the biggest threat to his job security. The Pelicans have featured in a handful of nationally televised games already this season, with the league originally leaning on Zion Williamson’s star power to improve TV ratings. However, with the All-Star forward out of the picture, this less-than-ideal situation has “cast a far larger spotlight on the Pelicans’ losing dynamic than otherwise would have existed.”
The tipping point for Griffin, however, appears to have transpired during New Orleans’ Nov. 3 matchup against the Sacramento Kings. The Pels executive reportedly had a heated run-in with ex-New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry, who now serves as an associate head coach under Luke Walton in Sacramento.
Griffin and Gentry’s relationship took a turn for the worse after reports surfaced that the former allegedly told team and league officials that he had given Gentry “all the answers to the test, and he still fails.” While Griffin eventually denied saying this, he still made the decision to fire Gentry at the end of the 2019-20 season after five years at the helm.
Apparently, Gentry still has some ill feelings towards his former boss, which resulted in a heated confrontation between the pair:
After the Kings defeated the Pelicans 112-99 on Nov. 3, Griffin approached Gentry to offer a warm hello to his former head coach, yet Gentry brushed off his initial efforts as inauthentic.
Gentry responded with his own choice words, noting how his eventual replacement, Stan Van Gundy, who was also fired after one season in New Orleans, finished just one game better (31-41) than the Pelicans did under Gentry (30-42) the year he was let go. “You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either,” Gentry shouted at Griffin, according to multiple sources, and the two men had to be physically separated.
Reports state that Griffin has since been away from the team. Whether or not it was his own decision to leave the squad in the middle of an extended road trip, however, is anybody’s guess.
Right now, there are more questions than answers within the Pelicans. David Griffin should be the man steering the ship, but at this point, it doesn’t sound like he’s doing a very good job at it. Time might be running out for the former Cavs VP, with Griffin looking like he’s going to be jobless in the near future unless things turn around fast.