The man who helped orchestrate the city of Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years is reportedly not returning.
On Monday, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com cited sources noting general manager David Griffin will not return to his position as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical also reported the news and listed former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups as a potential candidate.
Wojnarowski cited a source who said Cleveland and Griffin “just couldn’t agree on [the] future,” while Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com said “Griffin removed himself from consideration when it became clear his vision for CLE didn’t match [owner Dan] Gilbert’s.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com shared the Cavaliers’ statement:
The Cleveland Cavaliers and its General Manager, David Griffin, have mutually decided not to extend David’s current contract, which ends June 30, 2017.
On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently, his role in the franchise’s first NBA Championship.
We have no announcement at this time related to new leadership of the Cavaliers basketball operations group, but we are confident our current front office will continue to aggressively explore and pursue opportunities to improve our team in the weeks ahead.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden also won’t be back when his contract expires at the end of June.
This come after McMenamin wrote in April the team and Griffin failed to come to an agreement before the 2016-17 season.
However, this also comes after Sam Amico of Amico Hoops reported in May that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was preparing to offer Griffin “a substantial contract and title to remain with the team.”
There was some apparent confusion among the players, as McMenamin shared:
While he will no longer serve as the general manager, Griffin’s tenure can only be classified as a success, and Wojnarowski added there will be “multiple teams pursuing him for significant money in next round of GM openings.”
He became Cleveland’s acting GM in 2014 when Chris Grant was dismissed and was eventually given the full-time position. He was there when LeBron James returned after his stint with the Miami Heat and also traded for Kevin Love and made a number of other moves that helped the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals and reach the Finals again this year.
He earned the endorsement of James in the process, per McMenamin:
It makes no sense why he shouldn’t get an extension. He’s pulled every move—he’s tried to make every move happen—to better this team to be able to compete for a championship. So we wouldn’t be in this position, obviously, without him and without the guys that are here—from the coaching staff to the players to Griff. He’s been a big piece of it.
Griffin was working with the highest payroll in the league in 2016-17 and re-signed or dished out contract extensions to James, Love, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson, per McMenamin.
He built a championship core around one of the best players in NBA history but was not rewarded for his efforts this offseason.
Fortunately for Cleveland fans, the team still looks primed to compete in the immediate future with James, Kyrie Irving, Love and a formidable surrounding cast, but the general manager who put them all together won’t be there for the next chapter.
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