The Cleveland Cavaliers are moving on from general manager David Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the month. Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan shared a statement from team owner Dan Gilbert confirming the move:
Daryl Ruiter @RuiterWrongFAN
Statement from Dan Gilbert on allowing the architect of an NBA championship & 3x conference championship team leave https://t.co/RhbceGlhI62017-6-19 23:36:09
According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs may target Billups to help fill the void after Griffin's departure. Wojnarowski reported Billups would become president of basketball operations and assist in the hiring of a new general manager, adding Billups would be Cleveland's No. 1 basketball executive. "Billups would hire a general manager with the day-to-day front office experience that he doesn’t have on his resume," added Wojnarowski.
Gilbert will meet with Billups on Tuesday, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Billups worked "behind the scenes" to get in front of Cleveland's brass during Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals.
Billups played 17 years in the NBA, retiring after the 2013-14 season. He joined ESPN as an analyst shortly thereafter.
Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein noted how the search for a new general manager comes at a particularly tricky time for the Cavaliers:
Marc Stein @ESPNSteinLine
League sources say the Cavs, until this wild turn, spent much of the day trying to assemble a Jimmy Butler trade. Unclear what happens now.2017-6-19 23:43:31
It's surprising the Cavs let Griffin go and then put Billups atop their wishlist. Not only would Billups have the difficult task of maintaining the level of success Griffin helped to build, he'd also have to find a way to upgrade the roster despite having virtually no financial flexibility.
Since LeBron James returned to the team in 2014, some fans have understated Griffin's role in building the Cavaliers into a title contender. He excelled at making the incremental moves necessary to take Cleveland to the championship threshold, be it trading Dion Waiters for JR Smith and Iman Shumpert or getting Channing Frye for next to nothing.
Dysfunction was a hallmark of the Cavaliers in the years after James left for the Miami Heat. Replacing the architect of a championship-winning team with a former player with no front office experience would arguably harken back to that era.