David Griffin, who is currently serving as the executive vice president of basketball operations of the New Orleans Pelicans, was the chief architect of the Cleveland Cavaliers when they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the 73-win Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals 2016 to win their first league title. However, after failing to defend their throne in the 2016-17 NBA season, the Cavaliers decided to part ways with Griffin.
During the 2017 NBA offseason, the Cavaliers hired Koby Altman as their new general manager after they failed to reach an agreement with Griffin regarding a contract extension. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert earned plenty of criticisms for his inability to come to terms on a new deal with Griffin. However, in a recent interview with Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, Griffin revealed that his decision to leave the Cavaliers wasn’t all about the money but also about the burden of surrounding LeBron James with a quality supporting cast that would enable him to compete for the NBA championship title every season.
From the time they brought home a Larry O’Brien Trophy in Cleveland, David Griffin already had the feeling that his days with the Cavaliers were already numbered.
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”
The LeBron James Derangement Syndrome has reached an all-time high pic.twitter.com/Ux3nyax5vY
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) July 30, 2019
Aside from his on-court dominance, James is known as a player who has a huge influence in the front office. Griffin believes that James approved of him in part because they maintained constant communication.
“You’ve got to be willing to have very difficult conversations with LeBron,” Griffin said. “I always was, which is why we had a great relationship, because I would tell him what he needed to hear and he respected that I was telling him that for the right reasons.”
As of now, LeBron James and David Griffin are no longer part of the Cavaliers’ organization. The Pelicans recently hired Griffin as their executive vice president of basketball operations while James is currently aiming to win his fourth NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, though James remains as one of the most dominant players in the league, Griffin doesn’t think that he’s no longer “the same animal anymore about winning” and added that there’s not much else for him to accomplish in the league.