Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager David Griffin have parted ways, but is Chauncey Billups the right replacement?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have made it to three straight NBA Finals, winning one ring in the process. The team’s success can be drawn directly back to forward LeBron James. Nobody will argue that assertion – but the impact of now former GM David Griffin is often understated.
Griffin’s track record more than speaks for itself. He has been a wizard at acquiring any and every available piece for the Cavaliers — all while using very limited assets.
Griffin’s more notable moves as GM:
- 2014: Traded SF Andrew Wiggins for PF/C Kevin Love
- 2015: Acquired center Timofey Mozgov for two protected first-round picks
- 2015: Acquired G Iman Shumpert, G J.R. Smith for two conditional second-round picks
- 2016: Acquired PF/C Channing Frye for center Anderson Varejao and a conditional first-round pick
- 2017: Acquired G/F Kyle Korver for SF Mike Dunleavy, PG Mo Williams and a future first-round pick
Dan Gilbert’s decision to amicably split from his gifted GM should come as a shock to no one. Just ask Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and now, unfortunately, Griffin.
Gilbert, ignorantly, repeatedly belittles the GM position and the value of having a wizard of negotiation at the helm of his front office. Not to mention the solid working relationship between James and Griffin.
Now, it seems Gilbert is pursuing former NBA all-star and Rock Financial (one of Gilbert’s companies) spokesman Chauncey Billups for the GM position. Billups, who has never held a front office job in the NBA, may be handed the keys to a Lamborghini in his first gig.
Billups’ close relationship with Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue is sure to be a contributing factor of the hire, but will he make the right basketball decisions?
With very little insight into how Billups would run the Cavaliers, it’s advantageous to look at his take on the prospects of trading for Carmelo Anthony during his time as an ESPN analyst.
Alarmingly, earlier this season on ESPN NBA Countdown, Billups stated he would indeed swap Love for Anthony.
Perhaps it was just an outrageous take for television purposes, but if it is truly what Billups would do in the same situation, it’s a glaring red flag.
With Griffin, Gilbert’s organization had stability – and a general manager willing to cede all credit to James, despite his obvious contributions to improving the team’s roster. The ability to deflect credit and ignore those belittling his role is a talent; A talent Gilbert ignores.
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Billups may perform well making basketball decisions in Cleveland, but with just two days until Thursday’s NBA draft, the chaos engulfing the front office is concerning. The Cavaliers have been linked to blockbuster deals including superstars G/F Jimmy Butler and forward Paul George. Both players would make the team significantly better, even though it would likely signal the end of Love’s tenure in Cleveland.
But what is the status of the negotiations given Griffin’s release?
At this point, nobody really knows. Gilbert is the owner; Therefore, he holds the right to negotiate however he chooses – that should also scare Cavaliers fans. Owners playing GM never works out.
It seems Cavaliers players alike are concerned with the future of the franchise. First reported by the Chicago Sun Times, and written about by one of FoS’ Site Experts, Nick Dudukovich, point guard Kyrie Irving is seemingly already looking for his next team.
From the New England Patriots and New York Yankees, to the San Antonio Spurs and Pittsburgh Penguins, there is one thing all great organizations have in common – stability. Gilbert seems unable to grasp this concept. Hopefully, the Quicken Loans mogul gets out of his own way before it’s too late for the Cavaliers.