There were a lot of questions surrounding the dealings between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans during the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline about Anthony Davis.
At the time, former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson did not believe the Pelicans negotiated in good faith and there are reports they never intended to trade Davis in February.
The two sides eventually got the deal done after the 2018-19 NBA season, but with two different people heading the charge. General manager Rob Pelinka is now the man in charge for the Lakers while David Griffin became the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans.
The dealings between those two were much different than the prior negotiations.
“I want to thank the Pelicans front office, Dave Griffin and Trajan Langdon,” Pelinka said during Davis’ introductory press conference. “Relationships in this business are everything, and I had an opportunity when I was a player representative to have multiple dealings with Dave Griffin when he was with the Cavaliers […] He carries himself with the utmost professionalism and I want to thank him for how he handled the dealings.
Pelinka also had some kind words for the new Pelicans general manager, Trajan Langdon.
“And then Trajan Langdon, their general manager, I co-represented him with Arn Tellem when I was an agent,” the Lakers GM added. “Again, just the relationship fabric there, I think helped worked through the complications of any transaction for a superstar. I wanted to thank both those guys.”
Trade negotiations, especially for someone of Davis’ caliber, can be very tricky and tense sometimes. But Pelinka and Griffin were able to handle things professionally and get it done despite the prior issues.
The praise wasn’t one-sided either. Pelinka has come under a lot of criticism and is perceived by some as being untrustworthy, but Griffin had nothing but good things to say in his dealings with the Lakers general manager, according to Kyle Goon of Orange County Register:
Pelicans exec David Griffin described Rob Pelinka's dealings on the Anthony Davis front as "fair and direct," and said "the conversations were very honest."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) July 16, 2019
At this level, it is supposed to be all business in negotiations without allowing personal feelings and biases to get involved. However, these are still humans and sometimes those things creep in.
Pelinka and Griffin were able to navigate all of the potential difficulties and strike a trade that seems to be a home run for both sides.