David Griffin

Community Shootaround: Sixers’ GM Job

Nine days after The Ringer published a fascinating report linking Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo to a handful of anonymous Twitter accounts that had seemingly revealed sensitive information about the franchise, Colangelo announced his resignation on Thursday, confirming that he and the club had agreed to part ways.

It was an extremely unusual way for a top executive to lose his job, but the upshot is that the Sixers have become the third NBA team this spring in the market for a new head of basketball operations. The Hornets hired Mitch Kupchak as their new GM and president of basketball ops, while the Pistons’ search remains active.

While Detroit’s list of candidates has included several executives who recently retired as NBA players and don’t have extensive front office experience, the early – and informal – list of options in Philadelphia looks a little heavier on former GMs and seasoned top lieutenants.

Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has been cited most frequently, viewed as an ideal fit not just due to his résumé in Cleveland, but due to his connection to a certain Cav — LeBron James figures to be the Sixers’ top target in free agency this summer, so bringing aboard a GM LeBron liked could boost the team’s chances of landing him.

League sources have also identified Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren as a top candidate for the 76ers, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Zarren has received consideration for several GM jobs over the years – including the Philadelphia gig before Sam Hinkie was hired in 2013 – but has always opted to remain in Boston. His track record suggests he won’t leave the C’s, but the Sixers, armed with a pair of potential franchise players, a top-10 pick, and significant cap room, would be an extremely appealing landing spot.

O’Connor indicates that Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley and VP of basketball operations Ned Cohen are two internal candidates that may receive consideration for the position, and says Kiki VanDeWeghe‘s name has been floated as a possible target too. A former GM, VanDeWeghe currently works in the league office.

Malik Rose, who is said to be receiving interest from the Pistons for their front office opening, is a Philadelphia native, which could make him an appealing target for the Sixers. If the team wants to dip into Houston’s front office again, Gersson Rosas would be a strong candidate. The 76ers’ list of candidates may grow even further, though it’s probably safe to assume that Hinke – the club’s previous hire from the Rockets – won’t be returning to Philadelphia, despite the wishes of many Sixers fans.

What do you think? Which GM candidate would you like to see replace Colangelo in Philadelphia? Which candidate do you believe the Sixers will ultimately hire?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Pistons Notes: Stackhouse, Budenholzer, Armstrong, More

Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Budenholzer are two of the prominent names to look out for in the Pistons’ coaching search, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Detroit parted ways with coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy on Monday. Stackhouse is a former Detroit player and served as the Raptors’ G League coach this past season. Stackhouse met with the Knicks before they hired David Fizdale and also surfaced as a candidate for the Magic and Hornets’ jobs. Budenholzer, the former Hawks coach, is arguably the top experienced head coach on the market. Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin is another name to watch as the Pistons seek a new front office leader, Ellis adds.

Former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson and ex-Pacers and Magic coach Frank Vogel could also be coaching candidates. Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Chauncey Billups has previously been mentioned as a possible front office candidate, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News notes. Spurs assistant James Borrego and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt are among the other names to watch in the coaching search, Deveney adds.

In other news involving the Pistons-Van Gundy split:

  • Player agent and former Bulls executive B.J. Armstrong could be a candidate for a front-office position, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. Armstrong has strong ties to Pistons chairman Arn Tellem and is a Detroit native. Goodwill adds.
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson was blindsided by the news of Van Gundy’s departure, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Jackson told Beard he was “stunned by the whole thing…it’s difficult right now to take the whole thing in.” Fellow point guard Ish Smith told Beard he would miss Van Gundy, adding that “he was really instrumental to my growth as a player.” (Twitter links)
  • Van Gundy’s coaching replacement needs to build the attack around the skills of Blake Griffin, Kevin Pelton of ESPN argues. His front office replacement will have to come up with creative ways to upgrade the roster around him despite salary-cap restraints, Pelton adds.
  • Griffin had some positive things to say about Van Gundy earlier Monday before the news of his departure broke. He made the comments during a podcast, which were relayed by USA Today’s Andrew Joseph“He’s actually a very cool guy. Very nice guy. Funny. And actually genuinely cares about people. That’s kind of rare.”

Hornets Notes: Monk, GM Search, Hernangomez

Given all the pricey long-term contracts on the books, blowing up the Hornets’ roster and rebuilding would be a painful process, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. However, in Bonnell’s view, an overhaul of some sort needs to happen. Eleven players on the current roster have guaranteed contracts for next season, but if the Hornets bring back nearly the same roster in 2018/19, they’re “running themselves into a wall that will not budge,” says Bonnell.

At 28-38, the Hornets aren’t technically eliminated from the postseason, but their playoff hopes are on life support, and the players sound like they know it. “(With) the talent in this room, starting with us, everyone expected something more,” Nicolas Batum said after the team’s latest loss. Marvin Williams also expressed concern about the Hornets’ collective effort.

“It’s been difficult. It hasn’t ever been this way here,” Williams said, per Bonnell. “I remember, even going back to my first year here (the 33-48 season in 2014-15), we weren’t very good, but we still competed, we still defended. We weren’t the most talented, but we played hard. We didn’t just play for ourselves, we played for each other and for coach. Right now, we’re just not giving the effort we need to give.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Whether or not Michael Carter-Williams is able to get back on the court this season after suffering a shoulder injury, rookie guard Malik Monk should remain in the Hornets’ rotation the rest of the way, Bonnell writes in a separate piece for The Charlotte Observer. With Charlotte’s playoff aspirations no longer realistic, the team needs to see what it has in Monk, according to Bonnell.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders explores whether it would make sense for the Hornets to hire a veteran executive like Mitch Kupchak as their next general manager, or whether the club would be better off rolling the dice on an unproven candidate with promise.
  • League sources tell Kyler that former Cavs GM David Griffin was contacted by the Hornets as part of their search, but Griffin may not be a serious candidate for the Charlotte position. According to Kyler, the prevailing thought on Griffin is that he’ll want “complete control” in his next job, and the Hornets may not be willing to sign off on that.
  • Speaking to Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders, Willy Hernangomez admits that 2017/18 has been a tough season for him, but says he’s comfortable in Charlotte and is happy to get a fresh start. “It’s a new environment and a new chapter, so I have new goals — I feel more free here, they want me to create for others,” Hernangomez said. “Maybe in New York, I was just playing the low-post instead of the pick-and-roll. Here, I can do many things: create offense, maybe three-pointers, rebound, play pick-and-roll — so I feel more comfortable here.”

Cavaliers Notes: James, Altman, Gilbert, Irving

The Cavaliers have struggled for the better part of 2017/18 and while they do, tensions continue to mount between LeBron James and the franchise’s management, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes.

Even before the club’s moribund loss to the Magic on Tuesday, Lloyd pulled the curtain back on the NBA’s most dysfunctional family in the days leading up to the trade deadline.

Here are some highlights lowlights from the worthwhile read:

  • The root of the Cavs’ problems, Lloyd says, can be traced back to two key issues that unfolded during the offseason. First and foremost, the club’s decision to part ways with woefully underpaid general manager David Griffin, and secondly, the Kyrie Irving trade that shook the foundation of the roster.
  • While James was vocal about his support for Griffin, team owner Dan Gilbert ultimately gave the job to young, in-house executive Koby Altman. Altman, Lloyd claims, is widely regarded as not ready for the task ahead of him.
  • The Griffin decision wasn’t the only time the Cavs went against James’ wishes during the offseason. They opted to sign draft-and-stash prospect Cedi Osman rather than pursue James’ preferred target, veteran Jamal Crawford.
  • One of the most substantial moves the Cavs made was to deal Irving after his trade request, fearing that his value would decrease if they waited closer to when he hit free agency (in the summer of 2019). James was convinced that he could mend his relationship with the young point guard if only the club held on to him long enough to go through training camp with the team.
  • According to Lloyd, James essentially has no relationship with either Gilbert or Altman. Griffin would often consult with LeBron and keep him apprised of major roster decisions, but that’s no longer happening — James was informed of the Irving trade about 20 minutes before word of the agreement leaked.
  • Multiple sources confirmed to Lloyd that James “cursed toward at least two team executives” during the now-infamous team meeting that began with players questioning Kevin Love‘s absence from a practice.

David Griffin Believes Cavs, Celtics Will Complete Kyrie Irving Deal

Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin believes the Kyrie Irving trade will take place as originally constructed, as Sam Amico of Amico Hoops relays.

“There’s not a lot of upside to this deal coming undone, for either side,” Griffin said on NBA TV. “Because of that, I think it will end up going through as is. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get Isaiah to a point where he’s ready sooner than people think.”

Boston originally agreed to send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 pick to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. Griffin said that if he were still the team’s GM, he would have made that trade.

“I think I would have,” he told NBA TV. “I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances. When you’re trying to win a championship, there is no in between. You’re all the way with me, or you’re all the way against me. And I think this is a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal that might not have jived with Cleveland’s.

“They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be a key for them — a 25-year old player in his prime, an NBA champion, an Olympic champion. He is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be.”

That was Boston’s offer for Irving before all the players involved took their physicals with their new teams and Cleveland expressed concern over Isaiah Thomas’ hip. Griffin added that he suspects Thomas’ injury wasn’t a surprise to the Cavs.

“When you go through these deals, you share all the information you have, you share all the images you have. If the most recent images of Isaiah were as far back as the playoffs, a new set of images now will create the ability to compare and contrast, and see how things have improved.

“So I don’t think it’s a situation where anybody was caught off guard. It was just a case of getting perhaps more information. Obviously, Isaiah is in this league because he has heart and soul that is almost unparalleled, and I believe him when he says he’s gonna be back to 100 percent.”

The two teams have until Thursday morning to finalize an agreement. However, if both sides decided to, they could extend the deadline.

Ex-Cavs GM Suggests Celtics On Irving’s List

In an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Monday (h/t to CSNNE.com), former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin suggested that the Celtics are on Kyrie Irving’s short list of preferred destinations.

Griffin mentioned Brad Stevens and Gregg Popovich as “really good coaching situations” that Irving covets, as well as Irving’s desire to play with “Gordon Hayward in Boston” or “Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio.”

The Spurs had previously been reported as a team on Irving’s list, but this is the first the public is hearing about the Celtics as a desired destination for the disgruntled point guard. Aside from the Spurs, the Knicks, Heat, and Timberwolves were reported by Chris Haynes as Irving’s top choices for landing spots.

While the Celtics certainly have the assets to land Irving, with a trove of draft picks and Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and other desirable players, Danny Ainge has been reluctant to part with these assets in trades for Paul George and Jimmy Butler, which led to the pair being traded elsewhere for far less than the Celtics could have offered.

Furthermore, if the Celtics were to strike a deal for Irving, he and Isaiah Thomas would make for an awkward fit starting in the backcourt, and a particularly troublesome pairing for Boston on defense, with neither point guard known for his defensive prowess. Irving also has reportedly wanted to be the lead guy on his next team, but Thomas is – and would likely continue to be – the Celtics’ franchise player. More likely, in the improbable event that the teams make a trade involving Irving, Thomas would have to head the other way.

Former GM Praises Irving, Expects Trade

Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin praised All-Star guard Kyrie Irving for the way he approached his trade request during an interview on ESPN’s The Jump show.

Griffin said Irving’s decision to make the request to owner Dan Gilbert in a private meeting took “courage” and was preferable to feigning that he was happy in Cleveland.

“The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within,” Griffin said on the show. “Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”  

Griffin believes Irving will be traded and that it would be better for both sides if that happens.

“I see this as him looking for a fit for himself, to take the next step in his career,” he said. “I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be. LeBron (James) casts a very large shadow over an organization.”

Griffin’s comments could be construed as a veiled shot at the organization, since the court of public opinion has taken Irving to task for requesting a trade from the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions. Griffin and Gilbert parted ways right before the June draft when the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension.

Irving’s request was made before Griffin was let go and the former GM was exploring trade options in his final days with the franchise, according to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops. A trade scenario involving the Clippers and Chris Paul was discussed, according to Amico, but those talks proved fruitless and Paul was eventually dealt to the Rockets.

Irving isn’t close to being dealt, sources told Amico.

Knicks Rumors: Front Office, Rondo, Anthony

With the Knicks unwilling to grant David Griffin final say on basketball decision, it appears very likely that GM Steve Mills will retain some – and possibly full – autonomy on the club’s basketball decisions going forward, writes ESPN’s Ian Begley. Mills is set to run the team at least through this year’s free agent period, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s named the full-time president after that, per Begley.

Marc Berman of The New York Post reiterates that sentiment, noting that no formal negotiations have taken place yet between Mills and the Knicks, but the current GM appears to be on track to becoming the club’s permanent president. As Berman explains, New York figures may continue to conduct interviews, but the club would be on the lookout for a general manager to work under Mills, rather than someone to take over basketball operations.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Following up on the Griffin story, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reports that one of the requests made by the former Cavs GM was to remove assistant GM Allan Houston from the front office. The Knicks’ unwillingness to part with Houston or to let Griffin bring in his own staff was one reason why the potential partnership didn’t pan out.
  • Currently, Mills is focusing on potentially trading Carmelo Anthony, finding a veteran point guard, and figuring out how to smooth things over with Kristaps Porzingis, according to Begley.
  • On the point guard front, the club has remained in touch with Rajon Rondo, and there’s mutual interest there, says Begley. However, the Knicks are out of cap room for the moment, so it’s not clear if Rondo would be willing to settle for the $4.3MM room exception, or if the team is looking to create cap space in order to make a more substantial offer.
  • A trade for a veteran point guard is a possibility too, according to Begley, who says New York had “strong” interest in Patrick Beverley before Houston traded him to the Clippers. Begley also mentions Brandon Knight or Eric Bledsoe as possible trade candidates, though there’s no indication the Knicks have talked to Phoenix about those vets.
  • No Carmelo deal is imminent, but the Knicks and Anthony “feel good” about getting something done at some point, sources tell Begley. For his part, newly-signed Knick Tim Hardaway said he’d “definitely” like to see Anthony return to the team next season (link via Begley).

David Griffin Withdraws Name From Knicks’ GM Search

David Griffin spoke with the Knicks about becoming the team’s next GM, but those talks have ended without a deal materializing, Marc. J. Spears of the Undefeated reports (ESPN Now link). Spears adds that Griffin pulled his name from consideration after he and the team couldn’t come to an agreement on the right role.

It was previously reported that the Knicks were opposed to letting Griffin bring in the same front office staff he had in Cleveland. The organization has several longstanding front office members and it didn’t want to displace many of those executives.

Team executive Steve Mills, who met with Griffin over the weekend, has been handling GM duties on an interim basis since the franchise fired Phil Jackson. New York hasn’t made any substantial player personnel moves this offseason with the exception of signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71MM deal.

Knicks Talking To David Griffin About GM Role

The Knicks have begun preliminary talks with David Griffin about becoming the team’s next GM, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

The former Cavaliers GM had dinner with team executive Steve Mills on Friday and is expected to meet with owner James Dolan soon. If the Knicks hire Griffin, he will take over day-to-day basketball operations, with Mills moving into the president’s role that was formerly held by Phil Jackson.

However, the Knicks are reportedly opposed to letting Griffin bring in the front office staff he had in Cleveland. New York has an entrenched staff that has been in place for years, and the team is reluctant to make widespread changes, according to the ESPN authors. Sources tell them that Griffin may not accept the job if it means working with an inherited front office.

Griffin had a successful track record in Cleveland, where he served as GM for three years and constructed a championship roster. He was let go at the end of June after his contract expired.

The Knicks are hoping to revamp their roster and are concentrating on players 25 and younger. Their latest move, signing Tim Hardaway Jr. for $71MM over four years, was orchestrated by Mills, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne.