Griffin: Pelicans creating 'right environment' for Davis
Jeff Haynes / National Basketball Association / Getty

The New Orleans Pelicans are in prime position for a quick rebuild - with or without Anthony Davis - after landing the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Recently hired Pelicans executive David Griffin is optimistic that the club can retain Davis despite his trade demand and believes New Orleans can be transformed into an attractive destination for marquee free agents.

"(Davis and I will) probably sit together in Los Angeles at some point around the draft workouts that take place there," Griffin said Tuesday, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. " ... And we're 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.

"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-caliber 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."

The Pelicans have already made strides in attempting to create a winner in Louisiana, hiring Griffin, a former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, as their vice president and adding well-respected Brooklyn Nets executive Trajan Langdon as their new GM.

With the front office secured and Alvin Gentry preparing for his fifth season as head coach, the organization is turning its attention to the draft. Rumors surfaced last week that Zion Williamson could opt to return to college for another year, but Griffin insisted this year's top prospects are on board with the Pelicans' project.

"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, 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."

The Pelicans have reached the playoffs only once since Gentry took over as head coach in 2016 and twice since drafting Davis first overall in 2012.

Griffin: Pelicans creating 'right environment' for Davis
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