THREE days before the draft and less than two weeks before free agency kicks in, the Cleveland Cavaliers head into the busy offseason without a seasoned executive after ending David Griffin’s successful three-year run as general manager on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
No one was more shocked with this move by Cleveland team owner Dan Gilbert than Cavs superstar LeBron James.
Griffin’s shock exit, one year after the Cavs’ remarkable title run last season, came just as the team was bracing for a busy offseason to address roster issues that became glaring in a five-game loss to this year’s champion Golden State Warriors.
James, on the final year of his contract, immediately sent a thank-you tweet for Griffin with a slight jab at Cavs ownership.
"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 (trophy)," wrote James on his Twitter account.
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
The 32-year-old James was reportedly not consulted by Gilbert in making the decision to let go of Griffin, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. James’ camp was naturally ‘surprised’ with the move, as per ESPN’s Ryen Rusillo, and that James himself was ‘disappointed’ and ‘concerned’ with the implications of this move on the Cavs’ future, according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck.
The four-time NBA MVP had voiced out his support for Griffin’s extension last April, given the team’s success since he took over as GM in May 2014. But Gilbert and team management saw otherwise, fueling speculation of another James exit from Cleveland when he enters free agency in 2018.