Chauncey Billups, who was the front-runner to become the president of basketball operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today confirmed the report, adding that Billups "Had been leaning that way for a while."
Billups, 40, released a statement regarding his decision, per Wojnarowski:
"I have great respect for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I greatly appreciate the discussions we had regarding their organization. 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 later told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, saying he didn't speak with LeBron James prior to withdrawing from consideration and said James' status "had no bearing" on his choice.
Billups is currently playing in the BIG3, and league co-founder Ice Cube took to Twitter to react to the decision:
Ice Cube @icecube
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. https://t.co/QDrqaAuSfC2017-7-3 16:28:13
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com broke down some of the reasons for Billups' decision to spurn the job:
Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN
Told one factor with Chauncey Billups withdrawing from Cavs search was staff concerns. Also money disparity was significant.2017-7-3 16:09:57
The Dan Le Batard Show suspected there was one person in particular who kept Billups from taking the position:
Dan Le Batard Show @LeBatardShow
Chauncey Billups just turned down a rare, lucrative job for which he has no training. Could have cut line. But not to work for Dan Gilbert.2017-7-3 15:58:00
And Zillgitt reported that ESPN recently gave Billups a raise, likely leading to the money disparity Goodman described.
Billups will be linked to front office jobs in the future, however, with Wojnarowski writing, "Billups lacks front office experience, but he is well-connected in the league and has an excellent reputation. He previously interviewed for a front office position with the Atlanta Hawks."
Billups' decision leaves the Cavaliers in a holding pattern after the team parted ways with former general manager David Griffin this summer. The team's assistant general manager, Koby Altman, reportedly will run the day-to-day operations while the team continues its search, per Wojnarowski.