Cleveland Cavaliers, GM David Griffin part ways

News of Cleveland's interest in Billups was first reported by The Vertical, and it comes on the same day that the Cavaliers parted ways with general manager David Griffin. According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, Chauncey Billups may become a lead candidate.

Considering Griffin had presided over a wildly successful three-year term in Cleveland, it left many wondering what might be the Cavs' next move. Assistant GM Trent Redden, whose contract also ends on June 30, is reportedly leaving the organization, as well, raising questions about who will be making personnel decisions as Thursday's National Basketball Association draft approaches. He thanked him for helping the Cavs win the National Basketball Association championship previous year, and expressed disappointment at the decision by Gilbert. Through a flurry of moves, Griffin was able to clear enough salary cap space for the return of LeBron James via free agency, and the acquisition of Kevin Love in a trade.

James threw his support behind Griffin in April in an interview with ESPN so his reaction to Monday's developments should come as little surprise.

In many quarters, the perception of James and Griffin has been that the former is ultimately in charge of what happens at Cleveland.

And Chicago's Jimmy Butler, who like George could serve in a forward or backcourt role depending on needs, is also being eyed by the Cavaliers, according to ESPN, which says both clubs are looking for a third team to facilitate a deal. "We got us 1", James tweeted. James even campaigned to get Griffin an extension after he pulled off a trade to get Kyle Korver, one of the league's best outside shooters. He also acquired J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks in January 2015, fired Blatt on Jan. 22, 2016, due to a "lack of fit" and replaced him with Tyronn Lue. Gilbert has owned the Cavs since 2005 and has never kept a general manager beyond his first contract with the team.

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. When Atlanta and Orlando asked permission to speak with Griffin about their open GM positions during the playoffs, Gilbert denied it, depriving Griffin from some options in case things didn't work out in Cleveland and stripping him of whatever leverage he had.

In his early years, Irving struggled with injuries, but just one season ago, it was his last-minute 3-pointer that served as the game-winning points in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

  • Julie Sanders