We’re just a couple of days away from the start of the 2017 NBA Finals but there’s still a situation ongoing in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
General manager David Griffin’s contract expires at the end of the season and it looks as if he won’t be returning next season.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on ESPN Cleveland last week that Griffin and the Cavs were talking but no new deal was in place.
Meanwhile, the Athletic’s Jason Lloyd told 92.3 The Fan last week in an interview on “Bull and Fox” that he didn’t think Griffin would be back because if he was, a deal would be done by now.
Griffin had been linked to Atlanta and Orlando for their general manager or President of Basketball Operations positions but those have since been filled. The Milwaukee Bucks general manager position is the only left available in the league.
I think it would be a major loss if David Griffin is no longer the general manager. People can say that Lebron James is the one making decisions and that’s completely false, he’s asked his opinion of potential roster moves but he is not the final decision maker.
Griffin was promoted to GM during the 2013-2014 season after a series of moves like drafting Anthony Bennett and signing free agents Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack sealed the fate of then GM Chris Grant.
He started showing his wizardry of trades right away when he dealt Earl Clark, Henry Sims and two second round picks to Philadelphia for Spencer Hawes at the trade deadline. Hawes averaged 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his 25 games for the Cavaliers.
Then the 2014 season is where Griffin really started to leave his mark on the very quick turnaround for the Cavaliers. He quickly got Kyrie Irving to sign long term before any major transactions took place that offseason, not knowing what was lying ahead.
He traded away Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller and Sergey Karasev to unload cap space to be able to sign Lebron James. Lebron made the decision to come back home and then Griffin was able to make another big trade.
Despite his high potential as a scorer and elite defender, the Cavs traded 2014 first overall pick Andrew Wiggins as well as Bennett to Minnesota for All-Star forward Kevin Love forming a “Big 3” with Love, Irving and James.
The free agent signing of James Jones, Shawn Marion and Mike Miller who Lebron helped recruit brought veteran leadership to the franchise but unfortunately that’s all it really brought.
Griffin continued reshaping the roster during the 2014-2015 season when he shipped out disgruntled guard Dion Waiters and brought back Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith who the New York Knicks just threw in to get rid of.
Griffin also traded two future first round picks to Denver for center Timofey Mozgov as the team was lacking a rim protector.
Those moves put the Cavaliers over the top in the Eastern Conference and led them to the Finals but injuries slowed down the pursuit of a championship as they lost to the Warriors in six games.
New additions like Richard Jefferson, Mo Williams and the acquisition of Channing Frye by Griffin finally got the Cavs over the top as they came back from a 3-1 deficit in last year’s Finals and brought Cleveland its first championship in 52 years.
While fans were upset that the Cavs had to trade longtime fan favorite Anderson Varejao, the move was justified in Frye’s excellent postseason shooting and of course the championship.
Griffin executed a trade for Mike Dunleavy last summer to help Chicago free up cap space to sign Dwayne Wade.
Dunleavy didn’t really show anything in his few months with Cleveland so Griffin pullled another rabbit out of his hat and shipped Dunleavy and an injured Mo Williams for Kyle Korver who has been another great fit for this team as they pursue a second straight championship.
His creativity on trades has been unbelievable. Griffin hasn’t been in the running for Executive of the Year because of the perception that James runs basketball operations.
A few weeks ago, NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski wrote about the Orlando Magic asking for permission to speak with Griffin, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert denied but Woj had this interesting tidbit of info:
Through the years, most in the employ of Gilbert believe that he has increasingly devalued the position of GM in his mind, believing that he can replace Griffin the way he did Chris Grant and Danny Ferry within the Cavaliers: promoting from within and paying less salary.
Now I think it’s great that we’ve been able to promote from within in the basketball operations department but it’s not going to work all the time. Just because it’s worked when the last two times with Grant and Griffin doesn’t mean it’ll keep working.
If Griffin were to leave, the most likely guy promoted from within is Trent Redden who’s currently the Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. He’s been with the Cavaliers since 2006 and is well qualified.
I just don’t understand why Dan Gilbert essentially gave everyone in the organization new contracts but not Griffin.
Head coach Ty Lue got a five year contract that pays him $7 million a year and assistant coach Larry Drew is one of the top paid assistant coaches in the NBA.
There’s been rumors of their relationship being “not good” but with success happening, bury the hatchet for the good of the organization.
Lebron James has spoken publicly on multiple occasions campaigning for Griffin to stay long term and just last week during the trophy presentation when Griffin wanted to stay in the shadows, the team got him up on the stage for the presentation, a sign the entire roster wanted him here for the long haul.
Of course there’s still time to get a deal done but we’re in the final hour and one would think Griffin already has his bags packed and one foot out the door.