David Griffin addresses trade rumors around Lonzo Ball: ‘It’s a good thing that people bring up your name’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jacob Rude
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

On Tuesday, rumors surfaced that the New Orleans Pelicans had received calls and were open to trading Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick. It wasn’t a surprising development that the Pelicans, who were 5-10 at the time, were open to trades. But the inclusion of Ball resulted in some raised eyebrows.

Ball responded with an impressive first half on Wednesday against the Wizards before exiting the game just before halftime with an ankle injury. After the game, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson voiced their support of Ball.

However, that will not silence the trade rumors.

On the “Pelicans Weekly Show” hosted by radio play-by-play voice Todd Graffagnini on Thursday, Pelicans executive vice-president of basketball operations David Griffin appeared and discussed the trade rumors, including addressing Ball directly with an illuminating response.

“In times like these, the fact that we’re trying to build a culture that’s really designed around family here really matters. We want to love each other enough to tell each other what we need to hear and that means you have to be really honest with guys at all times. I think our players trust this place enough and trust us enough to know that’s the case, that we will tell them the truth. The truth is, when you’re 6-10 and you’re struggling to finish off games (and) you’re disappointed in your results, teams are going to recognize that and are going to show interest in those players they covet. This just comes with the territory and I think to varying different degrees, different players handle these things differently.

Throughout my career, I’ve had to sit down with guys and talk to them at times like this and I think you saw Lonzo Ball come out in the first half (on Wednesday) prior to turning his ankle and have one of his best halves of the year. I think he just realized and compartmentalized in his situation that it’s a good thing that people bring up your name. It means you are coveted by other teams and I think you just have to take that as a positive and understand that the way the business works is quite often acquiring teams will throw your name out there and hope there’s blood in the water. This is just how it goes when your results are not meeting your expectations.”

Unsurprisingly, Griffin painted being included in trade rumors in a very….different light. While it is true that some teams may smell blood in the water and look to stir the pot with various players, those players have to be seen as attainable for acquiring teams to leak the rumors.

Along the same lines, the report did not simply indicate that the Pelicans were fielding calls from teams but that they were also open to making a deal. While not unexpected given his position, Griffin painted the talks as very one-sided.

Consider how Griffin framed the trade discussions involving Jrue Holiday just 11 days before Holiday was dealt to Milwaukee

“…This is something when you read something like that, you think something must’ve happened as though it was newsworthy that we were listening to trade discussions around a player. That’s our job. We’ve done that since I got here. We’ve had similar conversations at last year’s trade deadline. No one is actively trying to do anything different than we were before. We’re trying to build a team that can be highly competitive today and build toward a sustainable future.

If that means that Jrue is part of that, that’s special for us because he loves being with us and we love the way he plays. If the best way to build toward the future and the best way to put him in the best position to succeed is for him to be traded, that’s what ends up happening. But those things come about because you’re trying to build toward a sustainable future and Jrue is trying to put himself in the best position to win.”

Again, a very kind way of framing what ultimately ended up being substantial trade conversations. Griffin has a job, especially when speaking publicly on behalf of the team but his words should come with multiple grains of salt.