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Calling his time in Brooklyn ‘fantastic,’ Trajan Langdon looks for challenge in NOLA

The Pelicans introduced their new GM Tuesday and Trajan Langdon said a new challenge drove him to move from Brooklyn to New Orleans but he loved his time with the Nets.

“My time here in Brooklyn has been fantastic. The challenges that were here upon me coming in three years ago were daunting, and what we were able to do in three years was tremendous,” said Langdon at the press conference.

“My intrigue about [the Pelicans] job was about working with [executive vice president of basketball operations] David Griffin, especially once he told me how much [owner] Mrs. [Gayle] Benson was really set upon this being her baby and the team being successful, and being invested.

“It’s another challenge and one that’s greater being in a smaller market. Brooklyn has put themselves in a place now where they can attract those big-name people, and that’s what we want to do there as well, but in a different market. And like Griffin has said in the past, doing that in smaller market like he did in Cleveland is just a lot more rewarding when you find that success.”

Langdon, as Nets assistant GM, was responsible for development and scouting — two areas where the Pelicans need to improve. Take the G League. The Pelicans will become the 28th team to join the league next season, but the Pelicans affiliate will play in Erie, Pennsylvania, more than 1,000 miles away. They’ll be stuck there until 2022-23 when they’ll move to Birmingham, Alabama. still 344 miles from NOLA.

Compare that to the situation Langdon left in Long Island where players moved easily back-and-forth to Brooklyn. Langdon was also G League Executive of the Year.

Of course, the Pelicans have two things the Nets could only dream of when Sean Marks and Langdon took over the front office: the overall No. 1 draft pick in Zion Williamson and a superstar in Anthony Davis. Keeping AD in New Orleans will be his first and David Griffin’s most crucial decision. Davis has asked to be traded, but Griffin hopes he can get him to reverse his position. Still, that’s a big difference from the 2016 Nets.

“It wasn’t go out get big-name players. It was were going to build from within, we’re going to develop diamonds in the rough that we think our coaching staff can develop and turn from a G-League player into a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate or a 3-point champion,” Langdon said,referring to Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

“Those are the things we did in Brooklyn, and those are the exact same things we’ll look to do in New Orleans as well.”

Langdon said he and Gianluca Pascucci, the Nets director of global scouting who’s heading to Minnesota, had an advantage because of their European experience ... and language skills.

“I have the ability to go over there and infiltrate some organizations and talk to people and get some information about players that maybe some other organizations don’t have,” Langdon said. “That was a competitive advantage for us in Brooklyn with Gianluca Pascucci and myself and the scouts that we had over in Europe.”