The Magic continue to focus on Cavaliers general manager David Griffin in their search for a top basketball executive, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, who reports that Orlando intends to offer Griffin a position as the club’s president of basketball operations.
[RELATED: Magic fire GM Rob Hennigan]
Griffin’s contract with the Cavs expires at the end of this season. However, as Windhorst notes, the Magic won’t be able to engage Griffin in contract discussions until Cleveland is eliminated from the playoffs — or wins the NBA Finals.
Orlando’s interest in Griffin was first reported last week by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who suggested that extension talks between the Cavaliers and their GM have been “stalled for months.” Wojnarowski noted at the time that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been reluctant to offer his general manager a contract on par with other championship-level NBA executives, but Windhorst writes that Griffin still may end up staying in Cleveland on a new deal.
Griffin has played a major role in building the roster that won the championship a year ago, and LeBron James has endorsed retaining the veteran executive, so it would be somewhat surprising if the Cavs let him get away.
Hall of Famer Kevin McHale is among the candidates to become team president in Orlando, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
The TNT analyst would bring plenty of experience to the position. He served as president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves from 1995 to 2008, and twice took over as the team’s coach. His last NBA job was as coach of the Rockets from 2011 to 2015.
The Magic are hoping to hire someone with previous GM experience to fill the president’s role. However, McHale is also being considered for a front office position in Minnesota.
Orlando also has strong interest in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who is not signed beyond this season. That explains why the process has gone so slowly since Rob Hennigan was fired April 13th, as the Magic have hired a search firm but have not spoken to any candidates. Griffin isn’t expected to discuss the job in Orlando until Cleveland’s playoff run is complete.
Amick adds that interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep that post on a permanent basis.
The Magic and Suns could both make a run at Cavaliers GM David Griffin after the playoffs end, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.com. Orlando, which fired GM Rob Hennigan earlier this month, would consider doubling Griffin’s salary to bring him on board. Phoenix is a legitimate threat because Griffin is from that area and started his career with the Suns. GM Ryan McDonough is safe in Phoenix, according to Amico, but the team could offer Griffin a president’s role, similar to what Phil Jackson has in New York, where he would have the final say on all basketball decisions.
Griffin’s first choice is to stay in Cleveland, and owner Dan Gilbert would like to keep him, but that’s not a guarantee that things will work out. Griffin took over GM’s post in 2014 with the expectation of building a young team, but that changed quickly when LeBron James announced his intention to return. Griffin’s goals quickly changed to building a championship team, and his performance in doing that ensures he will get a big payoff this summer. The only question is whether it comes from the Cavs or someone else.
There’s more today out of Cleveland:
- Kyle Korver took an instant liking to the organization after being acquired in a January 7th trade with the Hawks, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers have Bird rights on the free agent swingman and can go over the cap for his new contract. Vardon indicates that Korver seems likely to re-sign, but there haven’t been any serious internal discussions about his future because of the uncertainty surrounding Griffin.
- The same situation affects point guard Deron Williams, Vardon adds in the same piece. The significant different for Williams is that because he signed as a free agent after agreeing to a buyout with the Mavericks in February, the Cavs don’t own his Bird rights. They will be limited to the veteran’s minimum, which was $1.55MM this season, and Williams can probably find better offers elsewhere.
- Chemistry concerns that haunted the Cavaliers this season seem like less of an issue after the first-round sweep of the Pacers, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. “A lot of egos can get in the way, a lot of things could get in the way of a team being successful as a team,” said Kyrie Irving. “Us putting our individual sacrifices to the side and the only thing that matters is us winning and advancing, as long as that’s first, we’ll always be in a good place.”
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird is stepping down from his current role with the team, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard will assume control of the basketball operations department.
While Bird will no longer be the Pacers’ president, he’s expected to continue to work with Pritchard and the front office as a consultant to the franchise, per Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
The news comes as a bit of a surprise, as there had been little indication that Bird was considering leaving the Pacers. However, on the heels of a disappointing 2016/17 campaign and a quick playoff exit, changes of some sort were expected in Indiana. The front office shakeup could significantly change the outlook for the Pacers going forward as the team begins a crucial offseason.
For one, Pritchard was believed to be drawing some interest from the Magic as a potential replacement in Orlando’s front office for Rob Hennigan. Given his increasing role in Indiana, Pritchard now appears unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon. As for Bird, Wojnarowski tweets that the Magic’s search firm has been asking around about him as a possible candidate for team president, but the Hall-of-Famer plans to stick to consulting for the time being.
Bird’s departure may also have an impact on Paul George‘s future in Indiana. Reports around the trade deadline – and before that – suggested that the team president was strongly in favor of retaining George and doing everything he could to lock up the star forward to a long-term deal with the Pacers. It’s not yet clear if Bird’s resignation makes an offseason trade of George more likely, but that will be a very interesting situation to monitor moving forward.
Bird had been the Pacers’ president of basketball operations since 2003, with the exception of the 2012/13 season, which he took off for health-related reasons. The team made it to the postseason nine times during that stretch, including three Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Bird also won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award in 2012.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
If the Magic can’t land one of the candidates they want for team president, they will try to get a big name to fill the GM role, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep his job either way, but would probably be more secure if Orlando can get a high-profile president. The Magic are reportedly interested in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie probably won’t be a candidate, as a source told Kyler that Hinkie is looking for an “ideal situation” and isn’t ready to return to the NBA. (Twitter link).
- The Magic won’t try to keep free agent forward Jeff Green, writes Kevin P. Smith of Real GM in his offseason preview. Green spent a year in Orlando after signing with the team last July. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 69 games, mostly as a reserve. Smith thinks there’s a better chance that Orlando could try to keep fellow free agent Jodie Meeks if he agrees to an affordable price. In the draft, the Magic may take advantage of a field rich in point guards to find a replacement for Elfrid Payton.
Having dismissed Rob Hennigan after the end of the regular season last week, the Magic are on the lookout for a new general manager, and one executive receiving interest from Orlando is the architect of the defending champions. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Magic have interest in Cavaliers GM David Griffin. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders had mentioned Griffin earlier this week as a potential target for Orlando.
[RELATED: Magic fire GM Rob Hennigan]
While the Magic have several candidates on their list of possible replacements for Hennigan, the idea of hiring Griffin intrigues president Alex Martins and the Magic front office, sources tell Wojnarowski. Griffin’s contract with the Cavaliers expires at season’s end, and an extension isn’t necessarily a lock for the GM whose roster won the 2016 NBA championship.
According to Wojnarowski, talks between Cavaliers ownership and Griffin have been “stalled for months,” and there’s an increasing belief around the NBA that Griffin could be lured away from Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been reluctant thus far to offer Griffin a contract on par with other championship-level executives around the league, sources tell Wojnarowski.
If the Magic do intend to seriously pursue Griffin, their search likely won’t be a quick one, since they’ll have to wait until the end of the Cavs’ playoff run to gauge Griffin’s interest in the job. In the meantime, the team is using Jed Hughes of the Korn Ferry search firm to gather information, while Martins has also been “significantly engaged” in identifying and vetting GM candidates, sources tell Wojnarowski.
As the Magic conduct their GM search, Matt Lloyd has been serving as the interim GM. Wojnarowski hears from GMs around the NBA that Lloyd is so well-respected by front office executives that those execs have been reluctant to make recommendations to the Magic, since they’re hoping Lloyd gets a chance at the full-time job.
Orlando has enough confidence in Lloyd, who is a candidate for the permanent job, that the team is willing to extend the search process and wait out the Cavs even if they make it to the NBA Finals, Wojnarowski writes. That would give Lloyd the opportunity to map out a plan for the draft and free agency.
- Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders examines the Magic‘s search for a new general manager, noting that current Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard and former Pacers exec David Morway have both been mentioned by league sources as possible candidates for the Magic. Orlando head coach Frank Vogel worked with both Pritchard and Morway in Indiana.
- Hornets forward Nicolas Batum has already said he won’t play for France in this year’s Eurobasket tournament, but Magic guard Evan Fournier hasn’t ruled out the possibility. As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando notes, Fournier told L’Equipe this week that, while he’s not retiring internationally, he’ll visit a wrist specialist soon and will make a decision on his summer after that.