Letting David Griffin walk just one year after winning a title was already a bad look at the time for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now we are getting an idea of just how much long-term damage it may have done to the franchise.
Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com reported on Saturday that owner Dan Gilbert’s failure to retain the former Cavs GM upon the expiration of his contract last summer damaged the relationship between LeBron James and the team. Pluto notes Griffin’s “excellent” communication skills with the players and coaches as well as the respect that the four-time MVP had for Griffin.
It’s a revelation that only adds to the scrapheap for Cleveland ahead of James’ impending free agency after the season. All of their other players seem to be either injured or ineffective, and they are now just 6-9 this calendar year after a 120-88 thrashing at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Saturday. That’s not even considering the locker room drama plaguing the team right now.
Four years after taking Anthony Bennett with the top overall pick, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is admitting his L.
In a recent interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Griffin, who was Cavs VP of basketball operations at the time and not yet their GM, nonetheless took responsbility for being the driving force behind their decision to draft Bennett.
“The issue with Anthony was, and we had no way of knowing it at the time, the kid had no desire to overcome adversity whatsoever,” said Griffin. “As soon as it was hard, he was out. His whole life, he rolled out of bed bigger, better, and more talented than everybody else. As soon as it was hard, it was over.
“And I was the one on campus at UNLV,” he added. “I’m the one who got sold the bill of goods and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. You f— up sometimes. But I feel bad [ex-Cavs GM] Chris [Grant] took it for that, because Chris was the one guy who wasn’t sure.”
Bennett was a disaster from the very start, and the Cavs gave up on him after his rookie season, trading him to Minnesota as a part of the Kevin Love deal. He would play for three NBA teams in the three seasons that followed, each one waiving him within a year. Now, Bennett is out of the league after putting up just 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 151 career games, and he may easily go down as the biggest NBA draft bust of all-time.
As for Griffin, he did still enjoy a run of success with the Cavs that culminated with a championship in 2016. But he is now out of a job, and Bennett probably represents one of a number of what-ifs from Griffin’s time in Cleveland.
Though the team proceeded in a different direction than he might have taken them in, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin still thinks they did quite well for themselves in their big trade with the Boston Celtics.
Making an appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Griffin discussed the blockbuster deal and said the Cavs did “a good job” in the return they got for All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
"I think they still follow up on the deal, they did a good job."-Fmr Cavs GM David Griffin on value Cavs acquired from Celtics other than IT pic.twitter.com/AjF1s407gH
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 29, 2017
Griffin, who left the Cavs earlier this summer, preferred not to trade Irving and instead was intent on keeping the team in win-now mode. But though the deal still has some hurdles to clear, the Cavs managed to stay competitive while also planning for the future, and Griffin can definitely commend that.
- David Griffin
Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin thinks Kyrie Irving is making a bold move in requesting a trade.
Griffin, appearing on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Monday, said he thinks Irving ultimately wants to find out what his ceiling is without LeBron James.
"Most guys don't have the courage to do what he did," –Former Cavs GM David Griffin on Kyrie Irving's trade request. Today on the Jump!
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 7, 2017
"I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be," David Griffin on Kyrie (on the Jump)
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 7, 2017
It’s clear that coexisting with James has been a huge factor in the breakdown of Irving’s relationship with the team. He wants to be the man, and as long as James is in Cleveland, he will not be.
Cleveland apparently fell victim to something of a domino effect this summer.
Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN report on Sunday that former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin had “several conversations” with Kyrie Irving throughout the last year in an attempt to “find ways to improve the situation.”
The rest is now history of course, as the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, Griffin mutually parted ways with the team towards the end of June, and Irving’s disgruntledness went public not long after that.
We knew the All-Star guard had been harboring unhappiness for some time. But it’s even more sobering to think that Griffin and Irving, two pillars of the Cavs franchise as we knew it, particularly during their championship phase, may suddenly both be gone within just weeks of each other.
Late last week, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin withdrew his name from consideration for a potential front office job with the New York Knicks.
Initial reports suggested Griffin’s decision stemmed from an inability to nail down a defined role within the organization and how much control he would ultimately have, but apparently there was more.
The New York Daily News reports that one major cog in the process stemmed from Griffin’s desire to compile his own front office staff, which included the removal of Allan Houston as the team’s assistant general manager.
A source told the Daily News that one of Griffin’s requests was to remove Houston, who has been with the Knicks as a player or an executive for the majority of the last 20 years. With Dolan’s support as one of the owner’s all-time favorite players (remember that $100 million contract extension), Houston rapidly ascended in New York’s front office and many believe he’s being groomed as the next GM under Mills.
The belief that Houston is in line to take over as general manager is a long-standing rumor and if this latest report is accurate, it would seem to lend some validity to that.
Knicks owner James Dolan is fiercely loyal to Houston, who has been with the organization as both a player and in the front office for the majority of the last two decades, so finding someone to take over basketball operations but have no control over Houston and others presents its own unique challenge.
H/T: NBC Sports
The New York Knicks have been dealt another significant blow in their efforts to rebuild their flailing franchise.
According to Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has withdrawn from consideration for a front office role. The reason was that Griffin and the Knicks could not come to an agreement on what his defined role in the organization would be.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN added that the breakdown came because Griffin and the Knicks could not agree on how much control over basketball operations Griffin would receive, as well as the ability to bring in his own staff. The Knicks front office includes numerous holdovers from the Phil Jackson era, including Steve Mills, who was GM under Jackson and continues to serve in the role for the moment.
Griffin had previously been considered the clear front-runner for the role, and his rejection is yet another blow for an organization that has widely been viewed as dysfunctional over the last few years.