The combination of his on-court brilliance and his influence over coaching matters and player personnel give LeBron James unprecedented power, and GM David Griffin concedes to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher that no one in the Cavs organization other than Dan Gilbert is as powerful as James is.
“He’s going to have the biggest voice, he’s the most important, accomplished player in the league and he’s an absolute basketball savant,” Griffin said. “He has the most thorough understanding of X’s and O’s on the floor and best mind for the game off the floor of any human being I’ve ever known. Coach, front-office person, anything. It would be crazy for me not to consult with him on what we want to do.”
Still, Griffin rejects the notion that James runs the franchise, and executives around the league tell Bucher that Griffin has earned the trust of the four-time MVP. While we wait for James to resume his quest for a fifth MVP tonight against the Knicks, see more from around the NBA:
- Joakim Noah makes it clear that he reveres Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who was his coach at the University of Florida, but Noah, poised to hit free agency this summer, wouldn’t say in a Q&A with Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com whether he’s considered playing for Donovan again. Noah’s Bulls and Donovan’s Thunder play Thursday. “I just know I’m going to want to win really bad. Not because I’m playing against Coach Donovan; I love Coach Donovan, obviously,” Noah said to Friedell. “He’s like a father figure to me. Somebody that I’ve gone through a lot with. My time with him as a coach was the best time of my life, and it was a lot more than just basketball.”
- Brook Lopez and his representatives sought to persuade the Nets to keep his name out of trade rumors as they negotiated the three-year max deal that Lopez ultimately signed with Brooklyn this past summer, as he tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. Reports indicated that the Wasserman Media Group client twice nearly ended up in deals that would have sent him to the Thunder last season. “We asked them to temper those ideas,” Lopez said. “We told them to pump the brakes a little.”
- Jeremy Lamb will have to make major improvements to justify his three-year, $21MM extension, writes Ben Golliver of SI.com, who argues that Charlotte has too optimistic a view on the potential of the former lottery pick. The Terrence Ross deal meanwhile offers a decent chance for both him and the Raptors to extract value, Golliver opines as he hands out grades for both extensions.