After the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that owner Dan Gilbert and general manager David Griffin have mutually agreed to part ways Monday night, names began to surface on who would be the next GM of the wine and gold. Not only would they have big shoes to fill being Griffin’s successor, but whoever it is would also jump into plenty of trade talks as well, with the Cavs involved in talks with the Pacers (for Paul George) and Bulls (for Jimmy Butler) as recently as Monday night.
You’d think that given the fact that LeBron James is going into the last year of his deal along with all of the baggage that the job holds, whoever the next general manager would have plenty of front office experience, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The first name on the list and the first person to essentially get the chance to prove that they are good enough to step into Griffin’s shoes will be Chauncey Billups, who will meet face-to-face with Gilbert Tuesday morning, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Dan Gilbert has scheduled an in-person meeting with Chauncey Billups tomorrow, sources said
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 20, 2017
Before Gilbert bought the Cavs, he was a huge fan of the Pistons. Having grown up in Detroit, he was there for the teams that dominated their way through the East, led by Billups. With the long-standing relationship, it seems as though that has worked in the former point guard’s favor. That, along with the fact that Billups is also close to Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue puts him in the driver’s seat. While working for ESPN during the NBA Finals, the former Piston tried his best to make himself noticeable to the team, including going out to dinner with Lue several times throughout the Finals.
He may not have any front office experience, but Billups has been an NBA analyst since he retired in 2014. But, having not ever been in a front office scares plenty of Clevelanders. with James going into the last year of his current contract, the Cavs can’t afford to mess anything up. Following Griffin being let go, James was rumored to not be too happy, and went on to give his thoughts on Twitter as well. Keep in mind, No. 23 publicly endorsed his former general manager during the season.
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
Whether it was just for views or not, earlier this season, Billups stated that if he were Griffin, he would have traded Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony, a move that most Cavs fans would not have been happy about.
Chauncey Billups once wanted the Cavs to trade Kevin Love for Carmelo earlier this season. Here's the exchange: https://t.co/yHwEISkrQD
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) June 20, 2017
If Billups does become the Cavaliers next general manager, former Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik is a strong candidate to work under Billups, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Zanik has plenty of experience, which would help immensely.
League sources say Justin Zanik will be a strong candidate to work under Chauncey Billups if Billups takes over the Cavs' front office.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 20, 2017
Much like owner Jimmy Haslam III used to be with the Browns, Gilbert seems to be very involved with the Cavs team right now, which could prove costly in the end, especially after losing Griffin. Only time will tell, but Griffin was one of the main reasons why the Cavs were able to win the 2016 NBA championship due to the team he was able to assemble, but it seems as though some people, especially Gilbert, believe that anyone could work their magic to get a team that is that talented.