What does Ex-Cavs GM David Griffin running Pelicans mean to Celtics?


BOSTON -- The math made a lot of sense for the Celtics. 

The Los Angeles Lakers, plus an agent trying to call the shots in a trade for Anthony Davis, plus a pissed off New Orleans Pelicans’ brass, equaled no deal getting done.

The Celtics, plus talented young players, plus draft picks, plus a willingness to part ways with those players and picks, equaled a potential summer blockbuster. 

And then the Pelicans went out and reportedly set themselves up to hire David Griffin as their general manager, throwing off the calculus for a deal involving Davis. 

Because with Griffin running the basketball show now, the Celtics and every team interested in dealing for Davis have to re-think the route to take in acquiring him. 

Unlike Griffin’s predecessor, Dell Demps, he comes to the Pelicans organization with a track record of success from his time in Cleveland. 

Some of Griffin’s most notable moves included convincing LeBron James to leave the Miami Heat and re-sign with the Cavs, in addition to acquiring Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves for a pair of No. 1 overall picks, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. 

And in 2015, he was runner-up for the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award. 

With the success Griffin enjoyed with Cleveland, the NBA world was shocked when the Cavs and Griffin could not come to terms on a new contract. 

And the fan base, already upset after a deal to keep Griffin could not be completed between him with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, were bothered even more by Griffin’s replacement Koby Altman, who agreed to Kyrie Irving’s demand for a trade and shipped him to Boston. The Celtics, at the time, were clearly the biggest threat to the Cavaliers’ dominance in the East. 

Give the Pelicans credit. 

For all the bad moves they have made recently, for all the criticism that they had coming their way and deservedly so, adding Griffin can be seen as nothing but an upgrade for them and their fans. 

And it brings about a heightened level of uncertainty as to how teams will proceed when it comes to swinging a deal for Davis. 

When he was with the Cavs, Griffin and Danny Ainge were able to pull together a couple of deals, but none anywhere close to what both sides will try and accomplish this summer. 

Griffin knows how talented and special player Davis is, and because of that, he will be looking for top-of-the-line assets in return even if he knows - and so does anyone trading for Davis - that the big man could be a one-year rental who can leave via free agency in the summer of 2020. 

While in Cleveland, Griffin worked a couple of deals with the Celtics. 

Only July 10, 2014, the two were part of a three-team trade (Brooklyn was the other team) in which the Nets traded Marcus Thornton to Boston; Edin Bavcic and Ilkan Karaman to Cleveland; and the Cavs traded Tyler Zeller and a 2016 first-round pick to Boston; and the Cavs traded Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn. 

And on September 5, 2014, Boston traded Keith Bogans, a 2015 second-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick to Cleveland for John Lucas III, Erik Murphy, Dwight Powell, Malcolm Thomas, a 2016 second-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick.

While it’s certainly not a blockbuster-type deal, it does speak to how Ainge and Griffin were able to work with one another in the past to get a deal done. 

Can they do it again for Davis? 

Before, it seemed very real that Boston could put together a package that would be good enough to get the Pelicans to swing a deal. 

Now, the Griffin factor forces the Celtics and every other team to at least re-think what could get a deal done for Davis. 

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