David Griffin and Willie Green were in the building to watch Jonas Valanciunas lead Lithuania to another FIBA World Cup win.
New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President David Griffin and Head Coach Willie Green were in the building to watch Jonas Valanciunas lead Lithuania to another FIBA World Cup win. They will also catch up with Brandon Ingram (United States) and Dyson Daniels (Australia), but touching base with the big man after a summer of trade rumors was very important to them.
There will be no hard feelings from Valanciunas when he addressed the matter publically. As he explained to Yahoo Sports, “you can’t be safe all the time and sitting and know where you’re going to be the next day. You have to expect everything. There’s no hard feelings. Trades happen. It’s not like an unusual thing.”
The Lithuanian legend knows his role going into next season and wants to be around in New Orleans for a few more.
“My main game is going to be in the paint, always. Set screens. Roll hard. Do damage inside on the low post. But when they’re plugging the paint, when they’re rotating, when they’re leaving you alone, being able to knock down a 3-point shot, this is what I’m still working on.”
Valanciunas, who has stuck around town well after the season (and always makes sure to attend a Mardi Gras parade), added that he is all ears when it comes to a possible contract extension.
“It was a great feeling being the Number one seed [in December]. That’s a big accomplishment. I want to come back to that. And I want to stay longer there. I like the New Orleans group. I’m ready to go and do it.”
However, his comical side came out when asked after the game, “How does your play with Lithuania affect your next contract in the NBA?”
Considering all of the trade speculation and failed negotiations, it’s starting to look like a safe bet Jonas Valanciunas will be the starting center on opening night. New Orleans representatives are now a combined 7-1 at the FIBA World Cup, all advancing to the second round.