The immediate mandate for Griffin is unmistakable: Navigate a trade of All-NBA star Anthony Davis that’ll shape the future of the franchise.
Griffin will have full control of basketball operations, league sources said.
Griffin left his job as Cleveland Cavaliers general manager in 2017, punctuating a tenure that included the Cavaliers winning the NBA title in 2016 with LeBron James. Griffin spent 17 years in the Phoenix Suns’ front office.
Danny Ferry had been the interim GM after the dismissal of Dell Demps in April, and he told ESPN earlier Friday that he had withdrawn from the process, citing a desire to keep his family grounded in their Atlanta home.
“I let the Pelicans know throughout the process that, for a few reasons, the timing wasn’t right for my family to move full-time to New Orleans,” Ferry told ESPN in a text message. “It’s a great job and deserves a full-time focus.”
The hiring of Griffin, 46, is expected to come with an upgrade in staffing and resources committed to the franchise, sources said. Griffin has been particular in selecting his next job after leaving Cleveland, pulling out of searches in New York and Philadelphia when the circumstances didn’t feel like a fit.
New Orleans owner Gayle Benson has expressed a desire to further invest in the Pelicans. She also owns the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry worked with Griffin with the Suns, and he interviewed Griffin for the Cavaliers’ head-coaching job that eventually went to David Blatt. Gentry is a favorite of the organization, and he was expected to return next season regardless of the front-office hiring, sources said.
Davis demanded a trade earlier in the season, and he could become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.