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Pelicans 'very optimistic' about Anthony Davis' future in New Orleans

Wednesday 22 May 2019 07:57, UK

Anthony Davis

The Pelicans are "very optimistic" Anthony Davis can be persuaded his future lies in New Orleans, according to vice president of basketball operations David Griffin.

Davis requested a trade before the All-Star break and then told media he would consider all options if the Pelicans were willing to move him.

That was before the Pelicans had a large stroke of luck in the lottery for the NBA draft on June 20, as they landed the No 1 pick and the opportunity to draft Duke star Zion Williamson.

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The 26-year-old is eligible to sign a five-year $240m super max extension with the Pelicans this summer, or can become a free agent in the summer of 2020.

Davis reportedly was unmoved by the Pelicans landing the No 1 pick and is ready to dig in his heels to force a trade to a bigger market with win-now resources.

Griffin hopes to change Davis' mind and convince him the Pelicans are ready to build a winner with staying power around Davis and presumptive No 1 pick Williamson.

Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils warms up prior to the second round game against the UCF Knights of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Image: The Pelicans are expected to draft Duke's Zion Williamson

"We'll probably sit together in Los Angeles at some point around the draft workouts that take place there," Griffin said.

"I think that's the next step -- really to look each other in the eye and talk about what's important to us.

"We are very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he's about, we're very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.

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"And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create - and are creating - the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-calibre players of all types to want to be a part of.

"This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process."

Griffin, who was available Tuesday to introduce general manager Trajan Langdon, said the Pelicans are very comfortable knowing the top prospects in the draft are excited by the prospect of being Pelicans.

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A lottery-night report from ESPN that Williamson was disappointed by the outcome of the ping-pong ball draw was dispelled by his stepfather.

"I'm certain that's a false narrative relative to the players that could potentially be the No. 1 pick," Griffin said.

"We've sat with multiple players that we're looking at for that first pick. In fact, in the case of Zion Williamson, [head coach] Alvin Gentry and I sat with he and his parents the night of the lottery. And Alvin and I were also together in interviewing Ja Morant in Chicago as well.

"And I think because we sat with those kids who are both incredible human beings and all about all the right things, we know unequivocally that either one of them would be thrilled to join us in New Orleans. And they're both very much excited about the concept."

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