Given how far along the two sides are and what the Cavs…

Given how far along the two sides are and what the Cavs are getting in return for disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving — Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first round pick — former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin believes protege Koby Altman should proceed as planned, saying he would make the same deal if still running the front office. “I think I would have,” Griffin told NBA TV late Tuesday night. “I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances. When you’re trying to win a championship, there is no in between. You’re all the way with me, or you’re all the way against me. And I think this was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland’s was.

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Chris Broussard: “While the organization is doing their due diligence and being wise in planning for a future without LeBron, I know there are people within that organization that still think he’s not leaving,” Broussard said.
Chris Broussard: “They think this is all just a bunch of drama and talk, and we all know LeBron likes drama. So, again, we don’t know. But if I had to make a pick, I would say he does stay in Cleveland. I wouldn’t bet my house on it, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d predict that he stays in Cleveland. But at this point, I don’t think LeBron knows what he’s going to do. We know that this has been his M.O. for the last several years. Even when he went back to Cleveland from Miami, it was on a short-term deal. He wants to keep to his options open for various reasons – to keep Dan Gilbert on edge, to keep [the front office] trying to make the team better and just for other personal reasons. LeBron likes playing in this situation. I think that’s his M.O. and I don’t think we should assume that he’s definitely leaving Cleveland because he won’t commit there long-term."
Chris Broussard: “However, there is reason to believe that he would leave. Heading into the draft, we know that Cleveland had a deal on the table where they could’ve gotten Eric Bledsoe and Paul George for Kyrie Irving in a three-team deal [with the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers]. Dan Gilbert went to LeBron and wanted him to sign long-term. He said, ‘I’ll do the deal if you sign long-term.’ And I’m told that Paul George was willing to [opt-in] to the final year of his contract. He wasn’t ready to commit long-term, but he told Cleveland, ‘Look, if you do this, I’ll pick up my option,’ so he would’ve been there for two years. And LeBron, still, did not commit long-term. Now, again, I’m not saying this means he is definitely gone, but it’s certainly a red-flag."
Chris Broussard: The fact is, LeBron’s group keeps things very close to the vest. If anybody knows ‘where he’s going,’ it would be his wife, his agent Rich Paul, his business manager Maverick Carter, maybe his associate Randy Mims and maybe his PR guy Adam Mendelsohn, but nobody else. And those people aren’t talking. But again, I don’t think LeBron knows where he’s going yet; I think he’s keeping his options open.
Chris Broussard: “I think if LeBron James leaves Cleveland and it’s all about winning and where he can win the most championships then I think the best move for him would be to go to San Antonio,” Broussard said. “If it’s just about winning – not about wanting to be in LA or maximizing his business opportunities or wanting to be in a glamour market or wanting to go play with his friend Chris Paul or whoever – then he should go to San Antonio.
Chris Broussard: “And with the Lakers, there are so many questions. Let’s see what Lonzo Ball is. Let’s see what Brandon Ingram is. Let’s see what Paul George is willing to do. I don’t see LeBron going there by himself, without another star, so what happens if Oklahoma City gets to the Western Conference Finals and loses in seven games? Does Paul George stay? Again, I think there are too many questions, at this point, for LeBron to know where he wants to go.”
"They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value Koby was able to get. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be the key for them -- a 25-year old player in his prime who is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be."
Altman was extremely focused on the future in making this trade, a source said. This trade may give James much more faith in Altman as a general manager. It would be hard to believe that Altman could have landed a better trade than the Boston one. He did call the uninterested Warriors about Klay Thompson, a source said.
Trying to persuade James to stay home won’t be easy. Altman is also handcuffed by the mammoth payroll that won’t budge enough for a marquee free agent even if Thomas bolts. Even so, with James, Thomas and Love, the deep Cavaliers still have a roster capable of advancing to a fourth-straight NBA Finals and possibly winning. It will be tougher with Irving joining forces with All-Star forward Hayward, forwards Al Horford and budding star Jaylen Brown, and heralded rookie Jayson Tatum. But Boston will desperately need to be one of the NBA’s best scoring teams after losing some defensive standouts in Crowder, center Amir Johnson and more notably Avery Bradley.
Redden worked with Winger in Cleveland, where he rose in the executive ranks as a well-regarded talent evaluator who worked under Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and Griffin. He will complement Winger, who has established a reputation as an expert strategist with a steady administrative hand and strong negotiating skills. For years, the Clippers had among the thinnest staffs in the NBA under the thrifty ownership of Donald Sterling. Since the arrival of Steve Ballmer in 2014, the franchise has grown into a robust organization with a basketball operations department that has expanded exponentially in size. Sources say the team has plans to add another assistant general manager to its brain trust.
Brad Turner: Clippers hired Trent Redden as assistant GM, per source. Redden was fired from same position with Cavaliers, along with GM David Griffin.
James Jones working for Altman? -- Matt Hey, Matt: There were considerations for Jones on the Cavs' side in terms of a front-office role, as well as a discussion between the two sides in relation to what he wanted to do in retirement, a league source told cleveland.com. Jones ultimately wanted to be in Phoenix, where he is vice president of basketball operations, and where he played for two seasons early in his career. The source said Jones' decision was not related to the tumult that's surrounded the Cavs this offseason.
Altman said the James-Irving feud was “overblown” by the media. Altman mentioned that he signed Rose on his first official day on the job and that the media should be talking more about the franchise’s offseason additions. Altman also told reporters that the Cavaliers will keep things “in-house” on Irving. “A lot of it has been overblown,” Altman said. “I think the people who are in this building every day haven’t seen any of that animosity. This is, along with [forward] Kevin Love, this is a group that got us to three straight Finals and won an NBA championship together. They play great together on the floor, and a lot of that I do think is overblown. We haven’t seen a lot of that ‘animosity’ that’s been out there in the media.”
Therein lies at least one huge difference between now and 2010: James is still helping to recruit players to Cleveland. He was instrumental in swaying Derrick Rose and Jeff Green in recent weeks. He was unreachable during the summer of 2010, something Irving is now. The Cavs have unsuccessfully tried to contact Irving, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic, but he is not talking to anyone from the organization.
Marla Ridenour: #Cavs owner Dan Gilbert about to introduce Koby Altman

http://twitter.com/MRidenourABJ/status/890303001944088577
Marla Ridenour: Gilbert says Mike Gansey will be new assistant GM. "He has great insight, very, very smart, scouted for many years."
Billups didn't speak with James until after he decided to turn down the job and James' plans for 2018 when he can become a free agent didn't directly factor into the decision. "The whole LeBron leaving the next year, to be honest that didn't bother me that much," Billups said. "Here's why: when you have an opportunity to really put something together and put your imprint on it -- rebuilding is a beautiful thing if the (owner) is going to have the patience with you. What bothered me more than if LeBron left or not was I didn't think they had great assets if you have to do a rebuild. It was more that than Bron. Bron and I have always had an amazing relationship."
Sam Amico: #Cavs have officially named Koby Altman GM. Press conference Wednesday at 4 pm. Dan Gilbert will be there.
Irving had wanted to discuss the trade scenarios with the ownership and management at the end of the NBA Finals, league sources said, but that meeting was difficult to set with David Griffin on the way out and with Koby Altman coming into focus as GM in only the past seven to 10 days.
Jason Lloyd: More Cavs news: Cap expert Tony Leotti was fired today, sources told The Athletic. Meanwhile, Mike Gansey expected to be named assistant GM
The Cleveland Cavaliers are finalizing a deal to promote Koby Altman to general manager, league sources told ESPN. A formal announcement to announce the promotion of Altman from assistant general manager to GM is expected soon, league sources said.
Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert has been closing on the Altman promotion for weeks now, turning his focus to him in the wake of Chauncey Billups turning down an offer to become president of basketball operations, league sources told ESPN.
Altman is expected to pursue a top-level, experienced assistant GM to join him in the Cavaliers front office, league sources said. Front-office executive Mike Gansey is expected to be promoted to an assistant general manager role, too, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After extended talks, the hiring of Koby Altman as Cleveland's new GM is imminent, league sources tell ESPN. Altman was Cavs' assistant GM.
Meanwhile, the Cavs also missed out on bringing Chauncey Billups in to run the front office. When Gilbert announced Griffin would not be back with the team, he said in a statement, “We are confident our current front office will continue to aggressively explore and pursue opportunities to improve our team in the weeks ahead.” According to a person familiar with the Cavs’ front office, Gilbert is continuing the process of evaluating the leadership roles, structure and potential candidates. He feels the current group in the room has been impressive and done a very good job in the short term as they have continued to take important steps to position the team for success. That group will continue to focus on that and Gilbert is confident this process will result in creating the strong leadership the team needs and expects, the person told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. The person was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue and requested anonymity.
Billups could've been Cleveland's president of basketball operations, and Lue's boss. It could have been a conflict of interest for Billups, who would've had to view Lue's job performance critically. "I talked to him about the situation," Lue said. "Any time you get the chance to advance, be the president and GM, it's always something great. I know it's something he always wanted to do. "But I just kind of stayed out of the situation because I was so close to Griff, so close to Chauncey, so I didn't want anything to do with it."
The Cleveland Cavaliers offered Chauncey Billups what is viewed in NBA circles as a below-market salary of $2 million annually for the role of serving as president of basketball operations, league sources told ESPN. According to sources, the team's initial offer was $1.5 million. League sources told ESPN that $4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn.
Sources maintain that financial compensation wasn't the only reason Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part. Cleveland is known for its unwillingness to pay top dollar for front-office leadership. Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had no prior front-office experience, and he is believed to be making $5 million annually.
According to sources, the team's initial offer was $1.5 million. League sources tell ESPN $4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn. Sources maintain financial compensation wasn't the only factor as to why the 40-year-old Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part.
Jeff Zillgitt: Making Chauncey Billups' decision not to take Cavs front office job a tad easier, he received more money from ESPN, I'm told. To be clear, ESPN gave Chauncey Billups a raise -- not more money from ESPN than Cavs offered. My apologies for awkward treat.
Chauncey Billups has withdrawn from consideration for the Cleveland Cavaliers' president of basketball operations job, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Billups had met twice last week with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert about a future with the club. They have known each other for a decade, and Gilbert is looking for someone to oversee the Cavaliers' front office after general manager David Griffin parted ways with the team following three straight trips to the NBA Finals.
"I have great respect for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I greatly appreciate the discussions we had regarding their organization," Billups told ESPN. "As I have conveyed before, ultimately I would like to lead a team's basketball operation and be a part of a successful franchise. But presently, the timing just isn't right to delve into that role in Cleveland. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on broadcasting and my other business endeavors."
Billups, who will continue in his role as an ESPN NBA analyst, confirmed that he informed Gilbert of his decision on Monday. A source told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that staffing concerns and money disparity were factors in Billups' decision to drop out of the running.
Ice Cube: Once a Baller always a Baller! @1MrBigShot passes on the Cavs for @thebig3. Watch him rain 4's tonight on FS1 (ch 219) 8pm est - 5pm pst.
Billups said Sunday there’s “no new news” on whether he will accept a position as president of basketball operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there should be soon. “I’m still in the process of thinking it over,” he said. “That will probably be done at some point in the next few days, but nothing to report.”
“The whole Cleveland thing just kind of jumped off,” Billups said. “I didn’t really want to take away from the first game, the first-ever professional Big 3 3-on-3 game, and (have) everybody want to talk just about Cleveland. I, of course, wanted to play. But I didn’t want to take away from the event.”
The choice by James to be a bystander comes at a fragile time for the team, which is navigating free agency without a general manager in place after parting ways with David Griffin nearly two weeks ago. Assistant GM Koby Altman has been elevated to the de facto interim GM while Cleveland continues to negotiate with Chauncey Billups to accept a position to run the front office.
A person familiar with the situation says Chauncey Billups hasn’t made a decision about joining the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ front office. Billups is weighing several factors and remains unsure if he wants to lead the Cavaliers’ basketball operations, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
The Cavs are still in discussions with Chauncey Billups to lead Cleveland's front office after the departure of David Griffin. They're also remaining active in the trade market, with a host of remaining front-office personnel, including Koby Altman, an assistant GM under Griffin, working the phones.
Meanwhile, the Cavs are waiting on Chauncey Billups. I've been told Billups has been seeking a general manager's job for about a year. Not sure about the hold up. Most people in the NBA expect Billups to be the Cavs next GM. I keep hearing the name George David as a possible Billups assistant.
Owner Dan Gilbert's search to replace general manager David Griffin, who parted ways with the team Monday, is not yet resolved as talks with former NBA star Chauncey Billups have not progressed to a job offer. Two people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Thursday that Gilbert has not yet extended a contract proposal to Billups for a prominent role in his front office.
Ice Cube is backpedaling on that whole Chauncey Billups to the Cavs thing -- saying CB is still with the BIG3 league because the NBA deal isn't officially done yet. "Right now he with us until I hear something different," Cube tells TMZ Sports ... "Yesterday I opened my big mouth and it wasn't done yet."
Owner Dan Gilbert has offered Chauncey Billups a five-year contract to head up the Cavaliers front office, but Billups has yet to accept, sources with knowledge of the talks told The Athletic. The two spent all day Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena, where Billups was introduced to a number of the executives who would be working under him, one source with knowledge of the meeting told The Athletic. It was the second consecutive day of meetings between Gilbert and Billups.
Sam Amick: As @JasonLloydNBA reported, Cavs offer Chauncey Billups to run basketball ops but he hasn't decided. Two factors I'm told he has pondered. 1) LeBron could leave next summer in free agency 2) Cavs coach Ty Lue is a close friend & prospect of being objectively critical isn't easy
Numerous sources close to the Cavs expect Billups to eventually take the job -- which will likely carry the title of "vice president" and may include an org chart that has a GM working under Billups -- but as of Wednesday evening there was no agreement or no formal offer.
Chauncey has actually been rumored to be in the running for the open GM job in Cleveland. Can you see him in that type of role whether it’s with the Cavs or another team? Paul Pierce: Yeah, actually me and Chauncey talked about that before. He said he wanted to be in a front office and I think he will be great. He’s young, he’s smart, he’s been a champion in this league and I just think that players can relate to Chauncey, like when he has a free agent meeting or things of that nature. I always thought he would be good in that type of position because of his IQ for the game and what he can bring to the table.
A day after Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert interviewed Chauncey Billups for a front office position following general manager David Griffin's departure, Gilbert and Billups convened for a second meeting, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN on Wednesday.
Billups, 40, is the only candidate to have interviewed thus far for the vacancy at GM created Monday when Gilbert and Griffin walked away from what had become contentious contract extension negotiations.
Richard Jefferson says the Cavaliers players were "shocked" to hear Cleveland was parting ways with general manager David Griffin late Monday night. Griffin shepherded the Cavs to three straight NBA Finals appearances and the first championship in franchise history last year.
"We shouldn't be shocked after we fired our head coach when we were in first place in the middle of the season," Jefferson said Tuesday, referring to David Blatt's dismissal in January 2016. "Still, it's surprising." Jefferson said he had a lengthy conversation with Griffin on Monday night after the news broke. He likened the ending to a "no-fault divorce," pointing out that Gilbert did indeed tender an offer to Griffin -- the details of which are not known -- which Griffin walked away from.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert interviewed Chauncey Billups for his team's general manager vacancy Tuesday afternoon in Detroit, sources told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. Billups, who currently works as an analyst for ESPN, has had a relationship with Gilbert for more than a decade. Billups endorsed Rock Financial, Gilbert's Detroit-based mortgage company, when the former NBA point guard was a member of the Pistons.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin left for his successors potential trades to bring either Chicago's Jimmy Butler or Indiana's Paul George to the team, sources told cleveland.com, and one or more deals Griffin constructed could happen without him. In either case, a third team would be involved and would take All-Star forward Kevin Love in exchange for the mix of picks and role players the Bulls and Pacers seek to rebuild in the event they choose to deal their franchise player.
To that end, ESPN reported Tuesday that Indiana and Los Angeles were engaged in trade talks. But the Cavs are still engaging the Pacers. Butler is under contract for two more seasons with a player's option for 2019-20. Sources believed that Gilbert and Koby Altman, who is essentially serving as the Cavs' acting GM, could end up swinging a major trade that was first cooked up in Griffin's final hours on the job.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin left for his successors potential trades to bring either Chicago's Jimmy Butler or Indiana's Paul George to the team, sources told cleveland.com, and one or more deals Griffin constructed could happen without him.
In either case, a third team would be involved and would take All-Star forward Kevin Love in exchange for the mix of picks and role players the Bulls and Pacers seek to rebuild in the event they choose to deal their franchise player.
Jefferson expressed confidence in Griffin's future prospects of becoming a general manager once again, comparing him to one of Major League Baseball's brightest executives who achieved unthinkable success with both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. "He's the Theo Epstein of basketball," Jefferson said of Griffin. "He ended the curse. Not just for a team, but for an entire city."
In part, Griffin was frustrated he was still one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league at less than $2 million per year on one of the shortest contracts, just three years after accepting under duress in 2014. After acting as interim for several months, on the day he officially got the job, Griffin had to announce the firing of coach Mike Brown. Gilbert didn't attend the news conference. Within days, Gilbert had offered John Calipari a job that would have made him Griffin's boss.
Sometimes Gilbert would insert himself into trade talks, calling another owner directly, and derailing Griffin's plans. Sometimes he'd send scathing emails on subjects within and outside Griffin's control. And other times he was nowhere to be found, unreachable or distant at key moments.
Griffin balanced it all the past couple of seasons while dealing with his third bout of cancer since first being diagnosed in 2006. There were long treatment sessions. His signature red hair all but disappeared. Griffin hardly ever let on publicly, offering only a few clues along the way, such as the lapel pin he wore to his news conference after the dismissal of David Blatt, meant to show solidarity to others with the disease.
Despite not having formal permission, Griffin met with an intermediary of the Magic to discuss the job when the Cavs were off preparing for the Eastern Conference finals, sources said. The talks did not progress and the Magic moved on, hiring Jeff Weltman away from the Toronto Raptors and giving him the exact type of job and long-term contract Griffin had sought in Cleveland.
Gilbert didn't consult James on the decision. Despite assumptions to the contrary even within the NBA, James doesn't have much say in major franchise decisions. James did get a courtesy heads-up before an official announcement and the franchise player was upset, sources said.
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