The Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising move this Tuesday, opting to part ways with general manager David Griffin. It wasn’t just the general public caught off guard, either. Not even LeBron James knew the move was coming.
Few hours after Cleveland Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert announced that Griffin would be leaving the team this offseason, the player made his feelings public.
If no one appreciated you Griff I did, and hopefully all the people of Cleveland! Thanks for what u did for the team for 3 yrs! We got us 1?
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 20, 2017
An anonymous source close to LeBron, consulted by Cleveland.com, told the reporter that while LeBron was utterly “shocked” by the news, “LeBron’s a player, Dan’s the boss. This was Dan’s decision.” However, the source also said that “LeBron does care about what the roster looks like.”
James carries a lot of power in the team but it seems this decision was not consulted with him, even after he had reportedly lobbied for Griffin to receive a contract extension.
In April, James exposed his thoughts about Griffin’s future in an interview with ESPN. “It makes no sense why he shouldn’t get an extension. 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. […] He’s been a big piece of it.”
Gilbert ignored James’ view and released the statement that announced the general manager’s departure. Now, the anxiety for many Cavs fans now is what impact this will have on Cleveland’s best player. NBA writer Howard Beck said that James was “concerned” about what the decision foretells for the Cavs going forward.
Source: LeBron is "disappointed" at Griffin's departure, as well as the timing, & "concerned" abt what this portends for Cavs going forward.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 20, 2017
This decision comes just a week after Cleveland lost the NBA Finals 4-1 to Golden State Warriors. James started speculation that he could leave the Cavs for a second time not long after. Asked about his future, he said, as quoted by The Guardian: “For me personally, I left everything on the floor every game, all five games. So for me personally I have no reason to put my head down. I have no reason to look back at what I could have done or what I shouldn’t have done or what I could have done better for the team.”
The chances of LeBron leaving town for the second time seem bigger than they did a few days ago. His answers to recent reports seems to make this impression stronger:
Dan Gilbert didn't consult with LeBron James prior to parting with David Griffin, sources said. James had advocated for Griffin extension
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 20, 2017
“Who they bring in will play a big role in LeBron’s decision next summer,” said the anonymous source. “If they bring in someone who is stable, who has the ability to make things happen, then fine. No harm no foul. But if it’s amateur hour, that’s a different story.”