The Orlando Magic’s search process for a new top basketball executive could extend until the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run, which would allow Orlando to gauge the interest of general manager David Griffin, league sources told The Vertical. The Magic are researching multiple possible candidates to replace former GM Rob Hennigan, but the possibility of Griffin does intrigue Orlando CEO Alex Martins and top Magic officials, league sources said. Griffin’s contract expires at the end of the season and talks on a new contract with Cavaliers ownership have been stalled for months, league sources said. There’s an increasing belief among league executives that Griffin could be lured away from Cleveland, league sources said.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest impending free agent might not even wear a uniform. Cavs general manager David Griffin has been operating this season on the final year of his contract after failing to come to an agreement on an extension with ownership this past offseason, multiple sources told ESPN.
Some key voices inside the Cavaliers’ locker room have spoken out in support of the GM who has spent more than half his life working in the NBA after starting with the Phoenix Suns as an intern in 1993. “It makes no sense why he shouldn’t get an extension,” James recently told ESPN. “He’s pulled every move — he’s tried to make every move happen — to better this team to be able to compete for a championship. So, we wouldn’t be in this position, obviously, without him and without the guys that are here — from the coaching staff to the players to Griff. He’s been a big piece of it.”
James acknowledged that Griffin’s contract status mirrors the disrespect the GM has received because of the perception that James ultimately runs the franchise. “Obviously they always want to bring my name into it and say that obviously, it’s easier because guys want to be here because I’m here,” James told ESPN. “But at the end of the day, he still has to press the right buttons because I’m not in the war room, I’m not in the draft room with those (front office) guys. I don’t know how much we may be over the luxury tax or if we have a trade exception here or how that’s going to work there or how many days we got to do this. So, it wouldn’t, seriously, I don’t know why it would make any sense to bring in a new GM. That don’t make no sense.”
His loss could force general manager David Griffin to find another big man, one with the ability to protect the rim. If the Cavs go down that road, and a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said there’s no immediate push to get a new player in during the upcoming three-game roadtrip, they would have to release someone since the roster is at the maximum of 15 players.
According to a team release, Bogut’s tibia has been set and won’t require surgery. The recovery plan will begin immediately with an extended period of immobilization and healing stimulation. Bogut, a free agent at the end of the season, signed with the Cavs for the prorated veteran’s minimum of around $390,000. He is expected to recover in time for training camp, ahead of the 2017-18 season.
The running joke about the Cleveland Cavaliers is that when he’s not humiliating opponents with chase-down blocks, setting up his teammates with those sweet-and-smooth-as-cheesecake passes and continuing to defy age with those gravity-defying dunks, LeBron James is also running basketball operations for the franchise. GM LeBron, as he is known to fans on social media and elsewhere, calls the plays and calls the shots – a characterization that should offend David Griffin, the man who is actually paid to do the job and has spent the past three years aggressively making the decisions to ensure that James is always positioned to win championships. “I take offense to it on [James’] behalf at times,” Griffin told The Vertical. “He doesn’t like that image. I don’t think he wants that image. He wants to lead his troops. He wants to be a player. He wants to lead the guys from within. He never tried to do any more than that. I think for him, it’s almost an unfair characterization of him, that he’s some kind of overlord. That’s not at all what he does.”
Frye referred to Griffin as “a magician” for his ability to always find the right complementary pieces, emphasizing the latest deal for Korver, a shooter who should benefit considerably from the open looks James and Irving tend to provide. James has been making his teammates better since he entered the league but has evolved into something much more in Year 14. “I call LeBron ‘Cheat Code’ at this point,” Griffin told The Vertical, with a laugh, “and the reason is, I know we’ll get almost all of a player’s strengths and really diminish a lot of his weaknesses, and it’s really [because of LeBron’s] presence for the most part. “I’ve said this several times since, but you’re basically charged with the legacy of Babe Ruth, and it’s our responsibility to allow that legacy to grow and evolve,” Griffin told The Vertical. “So it’s almost like a sacred trust that the kid gives you. He’s so good, in his own right, by himself, that he sort of mandates you have to be a title contender just by his presence alone … and if you don’t capitalize on the years he has left, then shame on us.”
Seemingly the only one in the building Griffin hasn’t done a deal for is himself; his contract expires at the end of this season.
The Cavs don’t have a large front office. After Griffin, it’s vice president Trent Redden, who travels the world scouting players the Cavs rarely have picks to use on, and assistant GM Koby Altman, who has a background in the Ivy League and a growing respect in the NBA. Both Redden and Altman will probably be on short lists for future GM openings. Brock Aller is the senior director of strategy, and he has helped identify some of the unique methods the team has used to create trade exceptions to add players despite being capped out. The new collective bargaining agreement has closed some of the loopholes the team exploited over the past few years.
But the Cavs have options. They can make a deal before the trade deadline, and they also have a $9.6 million trade exception to use. Depending on who that player is if they use the trade exception, it would add salary and increase the luxury tax payment. But for the right player, who can help win another championship, the Cavs are willing to make that deal.
He smiles when he sees Delly hit another three or Thompson chase another rebound. He wishes Irving were healthy. He thinks back to 2010-11, when Cleveland lost 26 games in a row, and the future looked bleak. Four years later, the Cavaliers have completed a historic turnaround, and no shortage of people made it possible. James heads the list, of course, with Griffin close behind. But Grant is on there as well. He kept the cap sheet clean and the war chest full, for the moment the Cavs would need it. “You’re proud it all came together for the team,” Grant said. “But more than anything, you’re happy for the people who are still there.”
Chris Haynes: “The assistant coaches of Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach Tyronn Lue obviously they still don’t have a contract in place. People I’ve spoken with, they have told me that frustration is at its worst regarding why they do not have contracts. Their contracts expired July 1st. Assistant coach Damian Jones, Phil Handy, James Posey, Jim Boylan and to a certain extent, Larry Drew. Frustration is mounting. It’s at an unbelievable point, that’s how it has been described to me.”
Cavs general manager David Griffin was working last week to finish the contracts of not only Lue’s assistants, but many of his own support staff in the front office. Lue’s assistants ran the Cavs’ summer league team in Las Vegas without contracts.
“You have to understand, it is so much different in Miami than everywhere else,” said Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who played seven years with James in Cleveland before joining him in Miami for a season. “Cleveland is part of the mainstream of the NBA. In Miami, there is one man in charge and that is Pat Riley and everyone falls into line from there. It’s very simplified for you. There is one way to do things, his way.”
A lover of practical jokes, Gilbert once wanted to dummy up a fake news release that the Cavs were signing Dennis Rodman to a 10-day contract and put it out on April Fools’ Day; he was talked out of that one. After a playoff victory over the Washington Wizards 10 years ago, Gilbert had a remote-controlled fart machine installed under coach Mike Brown’s seat. When Brown went up to the dais for the postgame news conference, Gilbert stood in the back and worked the controls. Brown was flummoxed — although the microphones didn’t pick up the sounds.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com on The Dan Patrick Show: They were highly pissed. I knew this for a fact. They were highly ticked off, this team, when the team didn’t re-sign Kendrick Perkins and they ended up picking up over the summer Sasha Kaun – a 29-, 30-year-old rookie who has not really played at all and I don’t really think is ready for the NBA. So, he’s collecting about $2 million right now a season and not even playing. Kendrick Perkins would’ve been brought back for the veteran’s minimum. Players – I know for a fact, I talked to them – they were highly ticked off about that, not bringing him back. Because it wasn’t about his numbers. It was about the intangibles, the emotional leadership and the enforcer, the enforcement role he brought to the team.
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April 23, 2017 | 3:37 pm EDT Update
Calvin Watkins: League announced $25K fine for Beverley because he confronted a fan after Friday’s game. The interesting thing about the fine is there’s a belief the fan said something to Beverley that prompted the later confrontation.