The Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising move ahead of the upcoming NBA Draft, relieving general manager David Griffin of his duties. Griffin’s contract was set to expire on June 30, but because the team was so far into the offseason, it was believed that a deal was in the works to extend his contract. Griffin was reportedly working on a trade deal with the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler on the same day he was let go, which makes this even more surprising. According to a source, Griffin and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert “just couldn’t agree on the future”. Trent Redden, vice president of basketball operations, will also be leaving the Cavaliers organization.
The early candidate appearing as Griffin’s replacement is former All Star Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who currently works as an NBA analyst for ESPN and has a relationship with current Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. According to reports by Yahoo’s The Vertical, it appears that Gilbert would hire Billups as a president of basketball operations and allow him to select a general manager candidate that would handle the day-to-day matters, similar to the construct the Los Angeles Lakers have made this offseason in hiring Magic Johnson, who in turn hired Rob Pelinka as his general manager.
Under Griffin’s tenure, the Cavaliers were able to make a swift turnaround from the depths of despair they found themselves in before 2014. Of course, the return of LeBron James was the main driver in the return of Cleveland to basketball glory, but Griffin had to maneuver deals, such as the trade of Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, and the acquisitions of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks, that made Cleveland a more attractive destination for James. James had a publicly good relationship with Griffin, saying in April, “It makes no sense why he shouldn’t get an extension.”