No formal offer was made by any of the teams, but news of this potential transaction stung Irving, who, sources close to him say, became convinced that LeBron’s camp, which also represents Bledsoe, orchestrated the trade talks. Team and league sources refute that, saying that it was Griffin who initiated the trade talks with Phoenix. Griffin, who is close with Irving, sensed both his unhappiness and his restlessness and was preparing for the possibility that Irving would request a trade. But once Griffin was no longer employed by the team, the conversations stalled. Cleveland then engaged in talks with Indiana and Denver, according to league sources.
What they didn't know was Cleveland had explored trading Kyrie in June, long before he asked out, a fact conveniently omitted when word of his demand leaked. Irving made the decision to remain silent while the details of his request were, in his word, "distorted." "I didn't feel the need to say anything because I knew the truth, and so did they," he says. "So it didn't matter what others said."
Still, for a split second, Irving winces, as though someone has pricked him with a pin. "They didn't want me there," he says.
Seven days later in Cleveland, James has just put the finishing touches on a win over Atlanta, the Cavaliers' 15th victory in their past 16 games. He conveys through the Cleveland public relations staff that he has already addressed Irving's departure and will decline to answer questions regarding their relationship. Now, as he stands near his locker at Quicken Loans Arena, he's asked about Irving's contention that the Cavs didn't want him. "That makes absolutely no sense," James declares.
Irving and his agent, Jeff Wechsler, sat down with Gilbert on July 9 in The Vault at Quicken Loans Arena. In the meeting, they pressed Gilbert, sources say, about the future of James. Gilbert, in turn, asked Irving for desired trade destinations, and Wechsler rattled off San Antonio, New York and Minnesota. Boston was not mentioned, but, league sources confirm, Gilbert later became keenly interested in securing the rights to Brooklyn's 2018 first-round pick, which the Celtics had acquired in the 2013 trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets.
"Ky wasn't as happy last year," says one of his former teammates who talks with Irving regularly. "He wasn't disruptive -- just a little disconnected." "Happiness comes and goes in the NBA," Cavs veteran Channing Frye says. "Kyrie had every right to do what he wanted." "I saw Kyrie high, I saw him low," Iman Shumpert says. "He's seen me tear up a locker room. We're friends. You help each other through it.''
And now that he had achieved his goal and the gig was his, all Altman had to do was make sure whatever decisions he made didn't go wrong and potentially help push the greatest player in team history, and one of the greatest in the history of the sport, LeBron James, out the door when he can opt into free agency next summer. Simple, right? "There's no manual I was given to say, 'Hey, take over this team that's been to three straight Finals, and oh, you have the best player in the world, and you need to manage that and try to get him back,'" Altman told ESPN. "There's no manual for that. I say it's incredibly hard, I think they're all hard. Each job is hard."
David Griffin on parting ways with the Cavaliers: It was very much a mutual decision. I was not at all surprised. In fact, I had a whole lot to do with it going in that direction. I was really grateful to ownership to give us the bandwidth they did to do what we achieved.
Joe Vardon: Much has been made about the 'chaos' surrounding the Cavs over the summer. Was there a point where you felt it, too? Koby Altman: I mean, there was certainly a shock when you come to the office and David Griffin’s not there. The leader of the franchise and an incredible mentor to me. But, we’ve dealt with an incredible scrutiny nationally, locally, the outside narrative of chaos. We don’t listen to that. We’ve gone through that. Actually our most controversial year was when we won the championship. We made a coaching change midseason. And so we deal with that stuff, we just put our head down and go. We sort of ignore the noise. And throughout the offseason we were making positive additions. Again, the outside narrative wasn’t that, but every addition we made: from Jose Calderon, re-signing Kyle Korver, bringing Jeff Green in, Derrick Rose. These are really positive incremental steps to getting better, and that’s, we thought the team we were going to bring back was championship level. We’re going to add to get incrementally better.
Koby Altman: Obviously the Kyrie happened and sort of gave us a chance to reshuffle the deck and gave us a unique opportunity to (reshuffle the deck), but as this was going on, no, we weren’t wavering. We weren’t like ‘oh my God, what are we going to do?’ We knew we had a great team still. We were just incrementally trying to get better.
Joe Vardon (cleveland.com): So, you once worked in real estate? Koby Altman: I graduated from Middlebury College, a prestigious liberal arts school in New England where you think when you graduate that you have to go make money. All my friends went into finance or banking or whatever the case may be. I had no business background at all, so I said let me try to do something to put some business onto my resume so I started out in commercial real estate. We sold apartment buildings and I did pretty well at the start, so I was like, ‘let me stay into that.’ It probably was about three years before I really felt like I missed basketball. But that real estate background really prepared me for this job and any walk of life in terms of negotiation, dealing with people, very important people, very wealthy people that are motivated.
The Cavaliers hired former Utah Jazz front-office hand Andrae Patterson as their director of basketball administration, a source told cleveland.com. Patterson, 41, will work in a number of areas for the Cavs, from various player development programs to scouting both in the U.S. and overseas. He joins general manager Koby Altman's staff after working as a personnel/player programs coordinator for the Jazz since 2015. In June the Cavs lost then-general manager David Griffin and his top assistant, Trent Redden. They also let salary-cap expert Anthony Leotti go over the summer.
During an appearance on ESPN’ The Jump, Griffin gave a brief, yet informative, breakdown pertaining to the outlook of the Cavs after all the moves done by the team’s current front office so far this offseason. Griffin was most impressed by the Cavs upgrading their defense that was toyed in last season’s NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors. Griffin was particularly positive of the addition of Crowder and Jeff Green to the roster, as he believes the two would make it easier for the team to adjust to opposing offenses. “They’ve done a really good job of getting more defensive versatility with the Crowder piece. Jeff Green is a nice acquisition at minimum that is going to be versatile piece for them as well. “
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert hired a private law firm to investigate whether Miami Heat president Pat Riley tampered to bring James to South Beach in 2010. The NBA dismissed Gilbert's claim and absolved the Heat. If James does go somewhere else next summer, you have to wonder if Gilbert will choose to look into tampering once again. Even beyond James' upcoming situation, anytime you hear of a multimillion-dollar deal agreed upon at 9:01 p.m. PT when free agency opens up, tampering will be questioned. Anytime a trade comes out of nowhere, tampering will be questioned. Said one assistant coach to ESPN: "I don't know if it will ever stop."
Koby Altman may be the latest person to call himself Cleveland Cavaliers general manager—the fourth in the past 12 years since Dan Gilbert bought the team—but multiple sources have told me that the Cavs owner was the one calling the shots on the trade that sent Irving to Boston, and he’s the one dealing with the fallout. Gilbert’s dysfunctional ways are old news. Gilbert himself joked during Altman’s introductory presser that his GMs have four-year presidential terms. “A state of organizational chaos is Gilbert’s M.O.,” one executive told me. “Gilbert thinks he’s the protagonist in the story of the Cavaliers, when, in reality, he’s the antagonist.”
Gilbert’s fingerprints were all over the drama that’s unfolded over the past week. Thomas’s health is what held up the deal, but according to multiple league sources with knowledge of Cleveland’s thought process, the unprotected Nets pick and Crowder were the pieces that Cleveland valued the most—those were the assets that got the deal done, not Thomas. The perception of the trade was that the Cavaliers and Celtics swapped franchise point guards, but for the Cleveland front office (and its owner), Thomas was the icing, not the cake.
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.”
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.
"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.
Kevin Arnovitz: Longtime Cavs exec Trent Redden will join the Clippers as their new assistant general manager, league sources say.
Brad Turner: Clippers hired Trent Redden as assistant GM, per source. Redden was fired from same position with Cavaliers, along with GM David Griffin.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Michael Winger, close to deal as new Clippers GM, and Redden worked together with Cleveland. They'll work under president Lawrence Frank. twitter.com/kevinarnovitz/…
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.
Kristian Winfield: Dan Gilbert on Chauncey Billups: "He and I both agreed that the timing wasn't right." Said it had nothing to do with money.
Marla Ridenour: Gilbert says Mike Gansey will be new assistant GM. "He has great insight, very, very smart, scouted for many years."
Chris Fedor: #Cavs owner Dan Gilbert says Brock Aller, his former personal assistant, now Senior Director of Operations.
Marla Ridenour: Akron native Brandon Weems, former player at Walsh and close friend of LeBron James, will be director of scouting.
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.
As USA TODAY Sports reported earlier in the week, LeBron James is frustrated by Cleveland's quiet offseason and the departure of two of the team's top front-office executives, general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden, before the draft and free agency.
Most people in Las Vegas expect Koby Altman, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ interim general manager after David Griffin and Trent Redden left the organization last month, to eventually have the interim tag removed from his title. Altman is well-liked and well-respected within the league and would be deserving of the job. That said, he’d be inheriting a very difficult task.
LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Dan Gilbert met Cavs assistant GM Koby Altman for dinner in Las Vegas on Monday and discussed future of front office, sources tell ESPN.
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.
Marc J. Spears: To be clear, @1MrBigShot declined comment when asked about the Cavaliers offer and was not a source. twitter.com/chrisbhaynes/s…
The Cleveland Cavaliers offered former NBA All-Star 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 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.
ESPN Cleveland: Brian Windhorst on Chauncey Billups and the possibility of him coming to Cleveland: "It's pretty clear he's moving on."
Chauncey Billups played in his first Big3 event Sunday, the second of 10 weeks the 3-on-3 event will be played in cities across the country. The first week? He missed that one for another job opportunity that he’s still “pondering.”
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.
David Aldridge: Chauncey Billups still "status quo" regarding Cavs' GM offer. No decision imminent as of this morning.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Talks between Cleveland and Chauncey Billups for President of Basketball Ops job still ongoing, no immediate resolution expected.
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.
Keith Britton: Rip Hamilton on Chauncey Billups #Cavs: "I spoke to him this morning. He's very excited. I know he has a couple more meetings w/ Dan"
Brian Mahoney: For what it's worth, Chauncey Billups still listed as playing captain of the Killer 3s ahead of Sunday debut of @thebig3.
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.
Gilbert met on consecutive days this week with Billups, who aspires to be an NBA executive, but they have not moved beyond talks, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
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."
ESPN Cleveland: Windy on Billups: "He's conflicted about it because of family. He's not conflicted because he's worried about LeBron leaving."
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.
That's when Cube brought up Chauncey ... and maybe broke some news?! "It was the Killer 3's (led by Chauncey and Stephen Jackson) for a minute but since Chauncey took that job, it might change."
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.
October 20, 2021 | 9:48 am EDT Update
Tucker declined to discuss the offer he received from the Bucks in free agency. “I was pretty surprised,” Tucker said of not ending up back with the Bucks. “You win a championship and you’re part of winning something special like that, you would expect that. A chance of it not happening? There’s a chance. It didn’t happen. Does it happen a lot? I don’t think so, not in that situation, not in those situations. You watch role guys in series in the past, usually those guys go back. So I’ll take my situation as just that, a particular situation. I move on from it and keep it going.”
Tucker was successful in helping the Bucks win a championship in July, but just three months later he’ll be facing his former team as a member of the Heat. “I don’t even want to talk about it,” Tucker said when asked about specifics regarding his departure from Milwaukee. “It’s that far removed from my mind now. Like it’s something that happened. Everything worked out. I’m happy where I’m at. And I move on.”
But Thursday’s matchup against the Bucks feels somewhat personal for at least one player on the Heat’s roster, and he actually won an NBA championship with Milwaukee last season: Veteran forward P.J. Tucker. “I mean, come on, we’re competitors. I was part of that,” Tucker said this week of facing his former team on Thursday at FTX Arena (8 p.m., Bally Sports Sun). “To not be back? For sure. You know it’s like natural human behavior. Definitely, I want to win this game better than I want to win any other game. Yes, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t.”
There’s an expectation that Williamson will resume play under a minutes restriction when he does take the floor, sources said, typical for stars returning from injury. But with Williamson, who bristled at the training wheels Pelicans officials placed on his reintegration from a torn meniscus injury as a rookie, it could be a higher-stakes game of poker.
When he joined the Pelicans’ recent preseason trip to Minnesota, several league personnel on hand were struck by his heavier appearance than his listed playing weight last season of 284 pounds. “I know Zion at 280, and he was not 280,” said one observer. “These are the injuries you have to be the most concerned about, a foot injury for a guy with noted weight issues,” said one Western Conference executive.
There’s a strong belief in league circles that the Pelicans were unaware of that procedure until Williamson reported to New Orleans ahead of media day, although one team source contacted by B/R maintained the Pelicans and Williamson were aligned on the injury’s timeline.
Before Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin addressed reporters last Thursday, word was already circling around the league that Williamson was unlikely to make his 2021-22 debut before November, at the earliest. It was even known in rival front offices that Griffin planned to speak on the matter rather than issue a press release. This all comes after league figures raised a collective eyebrow when Griffin blamed Williamson’s season-ending finger injury on poor officiating.
Tatum’s post-COVID-19 recovery ramp-up saw him turn into one of the league’s top free-throw machines, drawing 7.6 a night in the final 18 games of the regular season. It started with his 53-point explosion against Minnesota on April 9, which seemed to be his springboard to the next level of his game. That would have ranked him seventh in the league for the season, right between fellow Hanlen client Bradley Beal and James Harden. He was averaging just 4.4 free throw attempts per game up to that point but kept it going in the playoffs with four double-digit free-throw attempt nights in six games (including the Play-In Tournament game against Beal’s Wizards) and going 62 of 66 overall in those games.