CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – With the potential departure of LeBron James looming once again, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert gambled by letting general manager David Griffin walk over the long-term direction of the franchise.
And much like 2010 when Gilbert gambled by firing Mike Brown as head coach because he thought that would help keep James in Cleveland, Gilbert’s latest decision may have backfired – again.
James isn’t shy about expressing his feelings and he eloquently ripped Gilbert and offered his appreciation for Griffin in a tweet Monday night after the ‘mutual’ parting with the 47-year old executive that constructed the 2016 NBA championship and three-time conference championship team.
“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🏆”
James threw his support behind Griffin in April in an interview with ESPN so his reaction to Monday’s developments should come as little surprise.
It should be mentioned that Gilbert and James have had minimal contact since the 2 met in Miami in July 2014 prior to James’ return in which Gilbert apologized for the scathing letter he wrote following ‘The Decision’ in the summer of 2010. Aside from Gilbert handing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to James following their victory in Game 7 over Golden State, the 2 have had virtually no public interaction and James doesn’t even say Gilbert’s name since returning to Cleveland.
James can opt out of his contract next summer and there have been numerous rumors circulating about James’ desire to move to Los Angeles where he has a home and wants to increase his presence in the entertainment world to play for the Lakers or Clippers.
Monday afternoon Griffin reportedly was in talks to try and swing a 3-team trade to acquire Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls and there had also been conversations with Indiana for Paul George, who has told the Pacers he will not re-sign next summer.
It was Griffin – not Gilbert – who earned James’ respect, and more importantly, trust over the last 3 years.
Now that Griffin is gone and uncertainty clouding the front office as well as future roster decisions in what is a critical offseason for the Cavs, James may now have legitimate reason to leave Cleveland again – a lack of trust and respect for the team’s management.