A difference of opinion on the “what and how” of the next needed steps are what led to the surprising parting of ways between the Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager David Griffin, a source familiar with the move told Amico Hoops.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert made the decision to replace Griffin on Monday, as the team was exploring trade possibilities with both the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls.
Those talks are not expected to cease and the Cavs will continue to pursue improvements with the remaining basketball staff.
Sources told Amico Hoops that a number of employees on both the basketball and business side were angered by the decision to move on from Griffin.
“An absolute (expletive) joke,” said one.
Gilbert announced the move in a statement Monday.
“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently, his role in the franchise’s first NBA Championship,” Gilbert said.
Former NBA guard Chauncey Billups is a candidate for the position of president of basketball operations, with the Cavs potentially hiring a GM to work under him, according to Yahoo Sports.
Initially, that was the plan for Griffin, league sources told Amico Hoops.
Gilbert had told partners and others involved in the organization that he intended to offer Griffin a “significant” raise and new title.
But sources warned that negotiations could get tricky, as Gilbert and Griffin maintained strictly a professional relationship and were not close personally.
That relationship reportedly took a turn for the worse during negotiations Monday.
Griffin oversaw the Cavs’ run to their first championship in 2016, 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.