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David Griffin: Anthony Davis’ shirt was about ‘Space Jam 2'

Warriors Pelicans Basketball

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, wearing a ‘That’s All Folks,’ T-shirt under his jacket, exits the floor, possibly for the last time at a Pelican, after an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in New Orleans, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. The Warriors won 112-103. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)


New Pelicans president David Griffin has expressed optimism about keeping Anthony Davis.

Good luck with that.

Davis requested a trade in February then wore a “That’s All Folks!” to New Orleans’ last game. Even if Davis’ agent – Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James – has a good relationship with Griffin from Griffin’s time running the Cavaliers, it seems Davis has gone too far to turn back now. The shirt further alienated Pelicans fans and anchors everyone’s belief it’s time to move on.

But Griffin is already working on that.

Griffin on ESPN:

I think that shirt was probably foreshadowing of “Space Jam 2" as much as anything else.
We’re going to be competing. We’re competing to win. We’re not coming at this as though we’re rebuilding. So, Anthony Davis aside, if he’s with us, we’re going to be building obviously with a little bit of a leg up obviously with a player of that caliber. But if he’s not with us, we’re going to building in such a way that we’ve got people that are all about this situation.

I’m impressed with this spin. Seriously. It covers so many bases so simply. This is why Griffin gets paid the big bucks.

Gives Davis an out for a contentious situation? Check.

Builds goodwill with LeBron’s agent after an embarrassing report about LeBron having trouble recruiting stars for the movie? Check.

Gets Davis back to New Orleans? …

There’s no indication Davis has actually changed his mind about leaving the Pelicans. This could be nothing more than Griffin’s longshot hope.

That’s why it’s so interesting Griffin said the Pelicans aren’t rebuilding, with or without Davis. It’s a big question what type of package New Orleans will target in a Davis trade. Jrue Holiday is ready to win now, but the Pelicans weren’t good enough last year with him and Davis. It obviously depends what’s on the table for Davis, but it seems trying to remain competitive post-Davis will likely leave New Orleans underwhelmed in the present and less-equipped for the future.

Of course, saying the team will remain competitive might just be the right thing to say – to motivate players and to extract the best long-term trade package for Davis. After all that he has accomplished, Griffin deserves some benefit of the doubt.