David Griffin

Cavs, GM Griffin Part Ways; Gilbert Eyes Billups

JUNE 21, 12:15pm: Billups has a second meeting with the Cavaliers today, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

JUNE 19, 10:59pm: Billups will meet with Gilbert on Tuesday, Windhorst tweets.

8:41pm: Billups is the top target to become President of Basketball Operations, Wojnarowski tweets.

7:59pm: Gilbert didn’t consult with LeBron James on the decision to let Griffin leave, even though James stated Griffin should receive an extension, Windhorst tweets.

7:01pm: GM David Griffin and the Cavaliers will part ways, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com tweets. Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the month, was unable to reach an agreement for an extension. The club has issued a statement confirming that the two parties have mutually agreed that Griffin won’t remain with the organization, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets.

Griffin, who was making less than $2MM annually, met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert last week. But the two sides were unable to come to terms. Griffin removed himself from consideration when it was clear that he and Gilbert weren’t on the same page regarding the team’s future plans, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets.

Former NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, currently a commentator with ESPN, is expected to emerge as a candidate, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Billups is a close friend of Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue, which might help Billups’ candidacy. Billups also has a relationship with Gilbert and will also be considered for the title of President of Basketball Operations, who will hire the GM, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Griffin won’t be lacking for job offers as multiple teams will pursue him during the next round of GM openings, according to Wojnarowski. Trade talks were being hampered because of Griffin’s iffy status, Wojnarowski adds. (Twitter links).

Assistant GM Trent Redden is also losing his job, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets.

The Cavs are pursuing complex blockbuster deals for either Pacers swingman Paul George and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. Griffin’s departure in the short run could hamper those efforts as Gilbert searches for Griffin’s replacement.

Community Shootaround: Communication Between Owner And Star Player

On Monday, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert parted ways with GM David Griffin, who was up for an extension. Griffin had been instrumental in bringing the Cavaliers’ star player, LeBron James, back to Cleveland. The executive also built a championship team by shrewdly trading for Kevin Love and cleverly filling out the Cavaliers roster over the years with key ancillary players like Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Channing Frye. He did all of this with creativity under considerable budgetary constraints. Unsurprisingly, James had long been an outspoken advocate for Griffin to continue at his GM post.  According to Brian Windhorst, LBJ was not notified before Gilbert decided to let Griffin go (link via Twitter). Naturally, this seemed to upset James (link via Twitter).

Should Gilbert have consulted LeBron before getting rid of LBJ’s guy? Is it prudent for an owner to do what he can to make his superstar, who is arguably the best player of all-time, happy? LeBron James left Cleveland once before. Could behavior like this from the owner fuel LBJ’s already potentially wandering eye? Conversely, do you believe that players need not be involved in front office decisions like this one? Should players be divorced from personnel decisions?

We would love to see your thoughts reflected in the comments section.

Cavs Rumors: Griffin, LeBron, Butler, Love, Irving

In the wake of David Griffin‘s departure from the Cavaliers, rumors have been swirling about the circumstances that led the two sides to part ways, the deals Griffin was pursuing while he was still employed, and what the Cavs may do now that he’s gone.

We have a ton of Cavs rumors to pass along, so we’ll break them down into sections, focusing on Griffin, the front office, and trade-related reports…

David Griffin:

  • Griffin had become pessimistic about his future in Cleveland during the last few months of the 2016/17 season, and had kept an eye on other job openings around the NBA, according to Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The ESPN duo suggests Griffin expressed interest in the Magic and Bucks jobs through back-channels, but wasn’t given permission to speak to those teams by owner Dan Gilbert.
  • According to Windhorst and McMenamin, Gilbert occasionally inserted himself into trade talks during Griffin’s tenure as GM, calling another team’s owner directly and derailing Griffin’s plans.
  • Gilbert and Griffin had a long meeting last Friday, which didn’t go well, per Windhorst and McMenamin. Griffin wanted a significant pay raise and a promotion, while Gilbert wanted better communication and more aggression from his GM.
  • LeBron James was “disappointed” by Griffin’s departure, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). LeBron suggested as much on his own Twitter account, telling Griffin that he appreciated his work for the franchise even if “no one” else did.
  • Griffin was among the NBA’s lowest-paid general managers, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Previous reports indicated that Griffin was making less than $2MM per year.

Front office:

  • League sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link) that former Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik would be a strong candidate to work in the Cavaliers‘ front office if Chauncey Billups is hired. Zanik left Milwaukee this week after the team passed him over for a GM promotion.
  • LeBron is keeping an open mind about the Cavaliers‘ front office shakeup, according to David Aldridge, who tweets that James is “very serious about structure” and wants to see who the team brings in.

Trade rumors:

  • On Monday, Griffin called several teams about possible trades and told the Bulls he might be able to land a top-five pick if they were willing to trade Jimmy Butler, per Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. According to the ESPN duo, the Cavaliers were making an effort to work out a three-team trade involving Kevin Love and the Suns‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • Even after Griffin’s departure, talks involving Love remain ongoing and the Cavaliers continue to gauge the status of Jimmy Butler, says Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter links).
  • Some Cavaliers players, including LeBron and Kyrie Irving, have reached out to Butler directly to gauge his interest in coming to the Cavs, and those players were encouraged by what they heard, Cleveland sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. One source tells Cowley that Butler may even push the Bulls front office to get a deal done, though as Cowley notes, that would be a major departure for Butler, who has talked about wanting to remain in Chicago.
  • Multiple teams have spoken to the Cavaliers about Irving, according to Amico, who adds (via Twitter) that Griffin was unwilling to move the star point guard. Cowley notes in his report that Irving has told some of his Team USA teammates that he might be open to a trade if it starts to look like LeBron will leave in 2018, and the Bulls are one team he’d be interested in. I’m extremely skeptical about the idea of an Irving trade — I think things would have to really go downhill in Cleveland following Griffin’s dismissal for that to be a realistic option.

Cavs Exploring Trade Market For Shumpert, Frye

In an effort to upgrade their roster, the Cavaliers have been exploring the trade market for Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net.

It’s no surprise that the Cavs are looking into possible deals involving Shumpert and Frye, though I wouldn’t expect the team to find much of value on the trade market. Shumpert will earn $10.34MM in 2017/18, while Frye will make $7.42MM, and neither veteran plays a huge role in Cleveland — teams interested in adding role players could probably find similar players for comparable prices – or less – on the free agent market.

While Shumpert and Frye may not bring a huge return to Cleveland, they do make some sense as trade chips, since both players could be on expiring deals next season. Frye will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, while Shumpert has a player option for 2018/19. That might make them more viable trade candidates than someone like J.R. Smith, who has multiple guaranteed years left on his contract. Ultimately though, the Cavs aren’t likely to land a true impact player on the trade market unless they’re willing to discuss Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love.

As the Cavs explore potential deals, general manager David Griffin continues to field calls and make decisions for the franchise, despite the fact that his contract will expire at the end of the month, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. It has been a week since Cleveland was eliminated from the postseason, and there was an expectation that there might be some resolution on Griffin’s situation by now, but with no new agreement in place, the situation is starting to “cause some unrest” in the Cavs’ front office, per McMenamin.

One source who spoke to McMenamin describes it as “insanity,” while a source tells Amico it’s “going to be a hairy few days” in Cleveland as Griffin continues to focus on the Cavs’ future while his own future remains up in the air.

Cavs Owner To Meet With GM David Griffin

1:10pm: Gilbert’s meeting with Griffin could happen as soon as Wednesday, sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. Amico also writes that the Cavs are expected to offer Griffin a “significant” pay raise and possibly a loftier title too.

9:38am: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert confirmed to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com following the the club’s Game 5 loss that he intends to meet with general manager David Griffin within the next few days to discuss his future with the franchise. Griffin’s contract with the Cavs is set to expire at the end of the month.

Despite the fact that his Cavs lost to the Warriors in five games, Gilbert didn’t sound like someone looking to make major changes, telling Vardon that he feels good about “our talent, our personnel, coaching staff, everything.” However, the Cavs owner declined to say whether he’s confident that Griffin would return: “It’s not fair to him for me to discuss that.”

Griffin has been mentioned as a potential candidate in every GM search that has taken place so far this offseason, though clubs like the Magic and Hawks filled their openings without getting a chance to speak to the Cavs GM. The Bucks were also said to have interest in Griffin and haven’t yet made a hire, but they’re reportedly down to two finalists, and there’s no guarantee the Cavs would grant Milwaukee permission to speak to Griffin before his contract is up.

Although the Cavs have yet to extend Griffin, there is reportedly a sense within the organization that the GM is expected to be back. If Cleveland intends to retain the veteran exec, the team will likely need to offer him a substantial raise. As Vardon notes, Griffin is currently earning less than $2MM annually.

A title change could also be a possibility if Griffin sticks with the Cavs — he holds the general manager position, so a promotion to president of basketball operations would make some sense. Vardon reports that Griffin is seeking “some structural changes to the organization,” so perhaps he’d like the Cavs to add a GM for day-to-day duties while he retains final say on basketball decisions as president of basketball ops. That’s just my speculation though.

Central Rumors: Butler, Garrity, Griffin, Pacers

Jimmy Butler held a meeting with Bulls management on Monday to discuss the team’s direction, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Butler had only met with team officials briefly after the season, the tweet adds. Chicago isn’t looking to move the three-time All-Star swingman but will listen to any offers, Johnson wrote in an earlier story. Butler had been training in Los Angeles and will leave for Europe later in the month to train there, Johnson adds.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity interviewed for the Hawks GM position and will soon interview for the Bucks‘ GM opening, according to Tony Paul of the Detroit News. Atlanta chose Warriors executive Travis Schlenk. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed to Paul that Garrity will interview for the job formerly held by new Magic GM John Hammond.
  • There are several more hurdles to clear before the Pistons can move into a new downtown arena next season, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Detroit City Council on Tuesday will vote on a package of agreements that would allow the move, while the lease agreement with Little Caesars Arena has not been finalized, the report continues. The league also has to give its final approval. The franchise hopes to have all the elements completed in time for the annual July board of governors meeting in Las Vegas, the report adds.
  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin will seek a significant raise from owner Dan Gilbert, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports. Griffin is making less than $2MM annually, according to Vardon’s sources. The two sides have not yet discussed financial terms on a new contract for Griffin, whose current contract expires at the end of the month. The Magic and Hawks were denied permission to interview Griffin for front-office openings and the Bucks appear to be moving away from Griffin in their GM search, Vardon adds.
  • The Pacers will bring in six players for a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, according to the team’s website. That group includes Antonio Blakeney (LSU), Isaac Hamilton (UCLA), Zak Irvin (Michigan), Naz Long (Iowa State), Johnathan Motley (Baylor) and Rashawn Thomas (Texas A&M-CC). It’s a group of second-round hopefuls, headlined by Blakeney, a shooting guard ranked No. 85 by DraftExpress.

Central Notes: D. Griffin, Pistons, Pacers, Clarkson, Butler

Cavaliers GM David Griffin faces an uncertain future, writes Joe Drape of The New York Times in a well-written piece detailing the executive’s background, approach, and accomplishments. Griffin’s contract with the Cavs expires at the end of this month and, as Drape states, “[Dan] Gilbert is a hands-on owner who has a history of letting player and executive contracts run out before going to the negotiating table.” Since being named the Cavs’ GM in May 2014, Griffin has lured LeBron James back to the team, traded for Kevin Love, acquired many vital role players, fired David Blatt as head coach, hired Tyronn Lue to replace him, and most importantly brought a championship to Cleveland. For all the recent interest in Griffin, the general manager wishes to maintain a low profile, text messaging regarding comment on the story: “I really appreciate the opportunity to reconsider but I am trying desperately to keep a low profile and my quotes being in something about me just makes me uncomfortable. Ownership wouldn’t appreciate either, I am sure.”

Here are some other stories you’ll want to check out from the Central division:

Cavaliers Notes: Williams, James, Griffin

After spending most of his career as a No. 1 option, Deron Williams has taken a reduced role on the Cavaliers. It’s been an adjustment, but one that he’s willing to take on because of his teammates, as Fred Kerber of the New York Post passes along. 

“You’re playing with the best player in the world, arguably the best point guard in the game [Kyrie Irving],” Williams said. “Superstars. It’s a team that was already established. They won it last year, so for me it was an adjustment. It was an adjustment coming over here [after being waived by the Mavericks in February] and learning to play where I did not have the ball in my hands for the whole game, didn’t know if I was going to play 20 minutes or 10 or 15. But after settling in and knowing what they need, it’s become easier.”

Here’s more from Cleveland as the franchise looks to repeat:

  • Most people within the Cavaliers‘ organization feel that GM David Griffin will return to the team next season, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes. Milwaukee has interest in adding Griffin to the same role, but Cleveland won’t allow him to interview until its season is over.
  • Irving knows LeBron James will be the clear leader of the Cavaliers while LBJ remains in his prime and he’s willing to wait for his turn to take over the team, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays. “Whenever that time comes and it’s my time to be the leader of the franchise, then I’ll be well-prepared. But for now, I’m cool with just being — I’m very, very cool with being — a great guy on a great team,” the point guard said.
  • James and Irving have a special bond and James believes the two of them will never end up like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal—players who squabbled over roles and egos—McMenamin adds in the same piece. “He’s 25. He’s got at least 10 more years. I don’t. So I want to give him the blueprint and see what he [can] do with it,” James said. “You know, no matter if we’re teammates for the rest of his career or for the rest of my career, listen, it won’t be because we didn’t want to play with each other no more. It will never be that.”
  • Five of the players on the Cavaliers‘ roster were acquired via trade, The Vertical’s Bobby Marks notes in a piece that examines how each player came to the organization. Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and Kyle Korver all arrived in Cleveland in deals from other teams.

Bucks Receive Permission To Interview GM Candidates

12:06pm: ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links) provides an additional update on the Bucks’ GM search, noting that there’s still one GM candidate that the team hasn’t been given permission to interview. As was the case when Atlanta and Orlando expressed interest, the Cavs still aren’t granting permission to speak to David Griffin during the playoffs.

We heard last week that Cavaliers GM David Griffin, a popular target this spring for teams seeking a top basketball exec, is among the names on Milwaukee’s wish list.

11:35am: With John Hammond headed to Orlando, the Bucks’ search for a new general manager is underway. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Milwaukee has requested and received permission to speak to a handful of candidates about the open position.

The Bucks are eyeing Pacers president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie, Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, and Hawks advisor Wes Wilcox, league sources inform Wojnarowski. Each of those four clubs has given Milwaukee permission to interview their respective execs.

According to Wojnarowski, Dinwiddie and Karnisovas have become two of the NBA’s “most respected” young executives. Wilcox and Stefanski are veteran execs — Wilcox was recently removed from Atlanta’s GM role, while Stefanski has a history with Bucks consultant Rod Thorn, having worked with him in New Jersey.

Although assistant GM Justin Zanik is currently running day-to-day operations for the Bucks, and is said to be a strong candidate to replace Hammond in the permanent GM role, the team is reportedly conducting a “broad” search for its new head of basketball operations.

Latest On David Griffin, Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee has interest in bringing in Cavaliers GM David Griffin to the serve the same position, multiple sources tell Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Bucks have not reached out to Cleveland to gain permission to interview Griffin. The Cavs previously denied both the Magic and Hawks permission to speak with Griffin.

Vardon adds that Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert have spoken about the GM’s future with the team over the last few days, though no agreement has been made.

The Bucks lost John Hammond to the Magic and it was presumed that assistant GM Justin Zanik would be promoted in his place. Instead, the team is conducting a “broad search” as it looks to name a replacement. Longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn, who serves as a consultant to the franchise, will lead the search.

Zanik is will run the front office, including the team’s draft process, during the search, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Wojnarowski confirms an earlier report that Zanik remains a serious contender for the position.

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