Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is beginning to make it known to partners and others around the organization that he is prepared to offer general manager David Griffin a substantial contract and title to remain with the team, league sources told Amico Hoops early Wednesday.
Still, while Gilbert is making the rounds, a deal is far from done, sources said, and the sides may not meet for another month. But it appears the owner has every intention to keep his GM.
Griffin is operating on the final year of his contract and will be free to sign with another team as soon as the Cavs’ season ends. He is being heavily courted by the Orlando Magic, who are reportedly making Griffin their No. 1 target to replace fired GM Rob Hennigan.
The Atlanta Hawks are also said to be strongly interested in Griffin for their head of basketball operations vacancy.
But several in the Cavs organization and many opposing league executives told Amico Hoops they believe Gilbert has always intended to re-sign Griffin, and that Gilbert will hold a meeting with Griffin before anyone else.
Also, several people under Griffin have made it known to ownership that they greatly admire their GM and the positive work environment he has created, sources said.
Gilbert values these opinions and the strong atmosphere Griffin is credited with developing in both the locker room and team offices.
On top of all that, Griffin oversaw the Cavs’ run to their first championship, shaping the team around LeBron James — and making what many viewed as a risky coaching change from David Blatt to Tyronn Lue in the middle of last season.
James has voiced strong opinions about the team’s need to keep Griffin, both at the practice facility, as Amico Hoops reported, and in his comments publicly.
“It makes no sense why (Griffin) 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.”
Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Gilbert had not responded to a request from the Magic to speak to Griffin.
The Cavs begin play in the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night at Boston.