Former NBA player Chauncey Billups officially withdrew his name from consideration of President of Basketball Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, exactly two weeks after his named was linked to the position.
After former general manager David Griffin parted ways with the organization, Billups was only named linked as a potential replacement and after numerous interviews and speculation, a low ball offer from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert may have been the final straw to his decision to decline.
Billups spoke with his current employer ESPN about his decision:
“I have great respect for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I greatly appreciated the discussions we had regarding their organization. As I have conveyed before, ultimately I would like to lead a team’s basketball operation and be a part of a successful franchise. But presently, the timing just isn’t right to delve into that role in Cleveland. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on broadcasting and other business endeavours.”
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com was told by his sources that Billups was offered an annual salary of $2-3 million by Gilbert and that Billups asked for more. That was reportedly less than what he’s currently making as an NBA analyst for ESPN. Last week it was reported that Billups did make a counter offer to Gilbert but there’s no information as to what he was asking for financially.
I know people were curious as to why Gilbert tagged Billups as the guy to lead the basketball operations when he had no prior experience. Billups has always been revered as a sharp basketball mind and just because he’s had no experience doesn’t mean he would’ve failed. Many former players such as Larry Bird, Steve Kerr, Kevin McHale and Jerry West all became successful basketball executives with none to very little experience in a front office.
There’s plenty to go around in blaming this debacle that is currently the Cavaliers front office. I think Billups should get some blame for this situation because he was advocating for this role during the NBA Finals when Griffin was still employed by the team and then he strings the organization and the fan base along for a couple weeks and decides he doesn’t want to do it right now. I can understand though that he’s got a great paying job with ESPN and that he doesn’t want to move his family from Denver especially with his daughter’s senior year of high school upcoming and with Gilbert’s now reportedly low paying offer, I can see why he turned it down.
Which brings me to Mr. Dan Gilbert….
I can respect you for standing up for the region of Northeast Ohio when Lebron humiliated us on national television with “The Decision” although I don’t agree with how you chose your wording in “The Letter”
I can respect you for paying millions and millions of dollars in salaries and luxury tax to help bring a championship that Cleveland hadn’t seen since 1964.
I can respect you for the large hand you’ve had in revitalizing downtown Cleveland with the casino and all the other projects that has given the city a new life.
But that’s it….
Other Cleveland fans can bow down and praise you for what you’ve done but honestly let’s look at what you’ve really done.
You’ve let two successful general managers walk in your twelve years of ownership because you don’t value the position.
From July 2010 to July 2014, we were arguably the worst franchise in the NBA and your meddling into basketball operations didn’t help the cause.
Firing, re-hiring, and again firing Mike Brown all within that four year span. He’s still paying Brown for his second stint.
Signing free agents like Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum to help make a playoff push in 2013. How did that work out?
And then when we had a chance to move out of the first pick in the 2013 Draft (the one Tony Rizzo continues to gloat about when he’s kissing your ass on the radio), you made Chris Grant make the pick and it turned out to be the worst number one overall pick in NBA history in Anthony Bennett.
The only reason people say you’re a great owner is because Lebron James is from Akron, Ohio and wanted to come home and win Cleveland a championship. He’s the reason the Cavaliers are a successful franchise, not you.
When or if Lebron James leaves or retires, I hope that you sell this franchise to someone who actually knows how to run an NBA franchise and let’s the people who get hired actually do their jobs.
If it wasn’t for the championship, you’d be labeled as the Jimmy Haslam of the NBA owners.
As for the future, at this point they should just promote Koby Altman to general manager. He’s well respected around the league and has basically been the general manager for the last couple weeks. Since Gilbert runs the show anyways, it doesn’t really matter who the general manager is