LeBron James is often described in only semi-joking terms as the GM of the Cavaliers. And while James does wield an incredible amount of power, the man who actually is in charge of basketball operations, David Griffin, has a contract expiring this summer. On Monday, the King made it clear the he feels Griffin should be retained.
`”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 went on to rattle off the moves that Griffin implemented midseason during each of the past three years to give the Cavs a facelift.
“He went out, we needed some interior help, he went out and got Timo [Timofey Mozgov],” James told ESPN of the deal Griffin struck in January 2015. “We needed some perimeter defense, some perimeter shooting, he made a trade to be able to get Swish [J.R. Smith] and Shump [Shumpert]. And that was the start of it. We needed more interior depth, he got Perk [Kendrick Perkins]. We got guys. We brought guys in. We needed some more athletic wings, he made a move, I don’t know how he finagled it to get RJ [Jefferson] here. And so on and so on ...
“I mean, all the guys that are here. We wanted a stretch-4 to help Kev out, we make a trade to get Channing [Frye]. I mean, I can name all the pieces that he’s been able to [acquire].”
- It’s kind of funny that Griffin’s in this position. He took over after Chris Grant was fired five months before LeBron took his talents back to Northeast Ohio. But he was highly touted at the time, after his time in Phoenix. And since, James is right, he has done a tremendous job. He managed to give just the right amount for Kevin Love, and this gamble of adding Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith (with the urging of LeBron James) paid off huge.
- Like a lot of GMs in Griffin’s position, with a capped-out roster, he had to get inventive, and he had to hit on gambles. He has. Richard Jefferson is one. Jefferson looked completely done, before landing in Cleveland and becoming a pivotal part of the team. Matthew Dellavedova was a young bit player who grew into being a serious backup point guard. And the Cavs never faced a team that could beat them up inside, so that absence hasn’t hurt until recently.
- Even that, the lack of an interior big man on this team, isn’t Griffin’s fault. He added Andrew Bogut, and did so without giving up anything. That Bogut suffered a(nother) freak injury in his first game with the Cavs can’t be attributed to poor foresight on Griffin’s part.
- Griffin also made the bold, but correct, call to fire David Blatt last season and install Tyronn Lue.
- Beyond all this, let’s be real. The man brought the first title in Cavaliers history to The Land. LeBron’s the best player and the driving force and has influence and power and all of that. But Griffin did his part, and for that, the man has to be retained.
- James’ comments were interesting, however, given that James publicly criticized the front office for its lack of movement when the team was struggling earlier this season. It’s also not the kind of thing James would have done in his first stint in Cleveland. He had to grow into being comfortable with his power.
- Given that James wanted Tristan Thompson signed, and he was, and he wanted J.R. Smith re-signed, and he was, you can expect Griffin to be re-signed this summer.