Cavs, GM Griffin to part after 3 straight NBA Finals trips

He and owner Dan Gilbert reportedly went into extensive talks. Not a rapt fan base. Sure, having LeBron James is a trump card, but Griffin was an ace with the salary cap.

He's demanding. A fearless, risk-taking, casino-owning gambler. Those attributes have made him a billionaire businessman, a tough boss to please and the reason why the Cavaliers are in a current state of chaos.

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Chauncey Billups, who lead the Detroit Pistons to an National Basketball Association championship in 2004, is interested in taking over as general manager of Dan Gilbert's Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland.com reports. "Not just for a team, but for an entire city".

Gilbert did not announce a replacement for Griffin.

The timing of Griffin's exit couldn't be worse.

James and Gilbert have history dating to their acrimonious 2010 split. James posted. "Thanks for what u did for the team for 3 yrs!"

Billups now serves as an National Basketball Association analyst on ESPN.

Billups does not have any front-office experience, so it's likely he would fill an executive role alongside a new GM.

Griffin's impact on the Cavaliers can't be understated. He was part of a Cleveland front office that drafted Kyrie Irving in 2011 and lured LeBron James back from Miami in 2014 while adding All-Star forward Kevin Love the same year. He also plugged holes with veterans such as Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Kyle Korver. Griffin, though, nurtured a championship culture and helped deliver Cleveland its first title since 1964. There's no guarantee the Cavaliers will still be best positioned to challenge for a ring, and there's no guarantee James won't have his eye on potentially better situations. Like Griffin, his contract was up at the end of the month. However, his contract expired this year and the Cavaliers refused to extend it.

Unlike Lue, Griffin did not receive a contract extension last summer as Cleveland basked in the glow of its championship. With the sides at an impasse, it was James that publicly called for the Cavaliers to re-sign Smith. It has previously been reported that he was in the running for the vacant Atlanta Hawks job. He stepped away after Game 2 against Portland in the first round of the playoffs.

After losing to the Warriors in five games in this year's Finals, the Cavaliers seem primed to make some changes to address their defense.

Even if Billups is not Gilbert's choice, I can see the scenario working if he wants a respected former player. "Otherwise, we've been a group of tremendous individuals with individual hopes and dreams".

It's someone else's turn to keep it going. "They love each other like brothers and that's what we were trying to create from the beginning".

  • Julie Sanders