Griffin’s contract expires on June 30 and the two sides “mutually decided” that it would not be extended. Cleveland’s senior vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden’s contract is also up and he will not return either, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt reports.
Former NBA guard and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups is expected to become a candidate for Redden’s old job, Wojnarowski reports, and would be the man responsible for hiring a new GM.
Speculation that Griffin would leave Cleveland began in earnest in April. He had been connected to the open jobs leading the Hawks’ and Magic’s basketball operations departments but Yahoo’s Adrian Wojarowski reported that Gilbert did not respond to Orlando’s request seeking permission to speak to Griffin.
In April, LeBron James spoke out in favor of the Cavs extending Griffin’s contract. Gilbert “didn’t consult with” James before deciding not to renew Griffin’s contract, Windhorst reports. Zillgitt adds that LeBron “was surprised” by Griffin’s departure. Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck adds that LeBron is “disappointed” Griffin is leaving and by the timing of the departure, and that the change in leadership has James “concerned” about the franchise’s trajectory.
James tweeted a thank you message to Griffin later Monday evening that began with the words “If no one appreciated you Griff...”
As the trade market heats up in the days before the draft, assistant GM Koby Altman is the one taking trade inquiries from around the league, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. The Cavs are reportedly trying to swing a three-team deal for Paul George.
Windhorst and McMenamin point out that Gilbert has never reached a contract extension with any of the Cavs’ general managers since he bought the team more than 12 years ago.
Griffin joined the Cavaliers in 2010 and was promoted to general manager in 2014.