David Griffin stepped down as Cavaliers’ general manager in a cryptic text to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin late Monday night. The text came hours after Cavs owner Dan Gilbert announced the two sides mutually agreed not to extend Griffin’s contract.
Statement from Dan Gilbert on allowing the architect of an NBA championship & 3x conference championship team leave pic.twitter.com/RhbceGlhI6— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) June 19, 2017
Griffin wrote that the Cavaliers are “built largely on the concept of fit,” and that the fit is “not right for us to continue with one another.”
Griffin and Gilbert couldn’t agree on the franchise’s future, according to Woj. There were also teams asking about Griffin for job openings, midseason. That made conversations with opposing executives difficult.
It was an odd scenario to say the least.
After all, Griffin’s found success steering the Cavs to three straight Finals appearances, including Cleveland’s first-ever championship in 2016. Sure, having LeBron James is a trump card, but Griffin was an ace with the salary cap.
In truth, the Cavs’ GM was in line for a pay raise. He’d been making less than $2 million annually, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, who writes that salary range as low for a championship team.
He had offers, too. Both the Magic and the Hawks requested permission to speak with Griffin about their GM openings. Cleveland denied them both.
Now those openings are both filled, and Griffin is unemployed in a full market.
No 2 ways about it: Dan Gilbert screwed over David Griffin. Could have let him go to ATL, ORL, or MIL if he wouldn't pay him. Now too late.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) June 19, 2017
Griffin’s played a pretty good hand as GM
The ex-GM was integral in bringing Cleveland back to the prominence it lost when LeBron James left for Miami in 2010. Having the 4-time MVP back doesn’t hurt at all, but Griffin made the trades that surrounded The King when he returned four years later.
He drafted Andrew Wiggins, traded him to Minnesota for Kevin Love, then got J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert off the Knicks’ for nothing. Midway through last season, improved the defending champs. Those moves lent themselves to the Cavs’ streak of dominance.
SB Nation Cavaliers site Fear The Sword explains more about how devastating of a loss this is for the Cavaliers:
“This is almost without doubt terrible news for the Cavaliers. Griffin has proved himself to be one of the most adept GMs in the league at maneuvering around the subtleties of the salary cap, and important skill given the Cavaliers payroll and asset situation. You could comfortably make the case that there is no GM better suited for the specific needs that Cleveland has.”
Griffin’s departure came on the same day he talked to the Bulls about trading for Jimmy Butler. If today’s been any indicator of how Cleveland’s offseason will go, the 2017-18 season should be a fun one.