Thanks to the Los Angeles Lakers’ desperation to get a deal for Anthony Davis done, the New Orleans Pelicans walked away with one of the more impressive returns for a superstar in recent NBA memory. David Griffin was asked about those negotiations and made sure to praise his counterpart, Rob Pelinka, for a straightforward and honest process.
Given what Pelinka’s reputation was heading into those trade talks, this is definitely a step in the right direction (h/t: Showtime Forum):
“Both Rob Pelinka and Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik, all of them dealt with us in such a fair and direct way. The conversations were very honest, and I think everybody was very mindful of the sensitivity involved in both situations, so I’d like to thank both the Laker and the Utah organizations for representing the league in a very admirable way throughout this process.”
This is also not the first time Griffin has offered up this praise of Pelinka. He had previously said basically the same thing to Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod”:
“Rob Pelinka was incredibly forthright throughout the process, and I think dealt with us in a very fair way, so we’re greatful with the way (the trade) came about.”
Given the damage done by Magic Johnson when he hopped on national television and told the world that Pelinka was a backstabber, quite a bit of work had to be done to repair the latter's reputation — not just among the fan base, but also throughout the NBA. Quotes like these from someone as respected as Griffin are definite steps in the right direction.
Now, it’s worth repeating how much easier stuff like this is to say about the executive who helped secure an entire future in return for a player who was likely to leave at season’s end, anyway. But Pelinka could have been shady throughout the process given the potential leverage the Lakers had, and instead opted to operate in good faith — something neither Dell Demps or Johnson felt each other were capable of.
This just kind of goes to show how professionalism is really the best (if not only) way to get things done in a league where no matter how deals go, you still have to operate with those people nonetheless (cut to Danny Ainge wondering why everyone hates him). Had Pelinka overplayed his hand, Davis might not be a Laker right now, and this summer would have been an outright disaster.
So kudos to both Pelinka and Griffin for getting a deal done given the circumstances, and further kudos to Griffin for offering up some praise for a guy who badly needed it largely in part due to the Johnson’s unprofessionalism.
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