After parting ways with General Manager David Griffin, the Cleveland Cavaliers have met with former All Star and NBA champion guard Chauncey Billups for a major role in the front office.
Rumors circulated during the NBA playoffs that Griffin was a leading candidate to join the Orlando Magic, but that position was ultimately filled while he remained with the team during their failed title repeat.
According to multiple reports Grffin did not want to stay nor was he offered a contract extension by owner Dan Gilbert.
His contract with the team expires on June 30 and the timing of his departure right before the NBA draft and a swirl of speculation on the direction of the team.
The Cavs lost the NBA Finals in five games to the Warriors when star LeBron James averaged a record triple-double for the series.
Clearly, if the Cavs are going to stay in contention for another shot at an NBA title the current structure of the roster will have to change.
Griffin was reluctant to part ways with forward Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony during the season.
In a statement, Griffin said he was appreciative of the opportunity given to him by Gilbert, adding, "I am extremely excited for my next challenge in the NBA, however Dan and I know now that [the Cavs] are a team built on largely on the concept of fit and are now at the point where the fit is not right for us to continue with one another."
One could sense there was tension with Griffin during the announcement of the Cavs partnership with Goodyear during the post season.
"On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently, his role in the franchise's first NBA Championship," Gilbert said in a statement.
Gilbert has thrust himself into the mix in basketball operations, while pondering bringing in Billups whom he has a long term relationship with. Billups has never held a front office position, but does have extensive relationships with coach Ty Lue and multiple players throughout the league. He has been serving as an analyst for ESPN.
Billups has had a relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for more than a decade since Billups endorsed Rock Financial, Gilbert's Detroit-based mortgage company, when the former guard was a member of the Detroit Pistons.
Trent Redden, the team's senior vice president of basketball operations, also will leave the organization. His contract also was up at the end of the month.
James tweeted: “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 was quoted in April endorsing a contract extension Griffin, and he nor coach Lue was consulted or informed of Griffin’s departure.
The Cavs are currently focused on improving their roster with James entering the final year of his contract and the window for championships narrowing.
Love is the center piece of multiple trade rumors for Indiana’s Paul George or Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.
George has informed the Pacers that he will not resign with the team following next season and intends to play for the Lakers beyond 2018, but the Cavs are hoping to change that mindset if they can obtain him.
Ironically, there has been rampant speculation that James also intends to play in Los Angeles after the 2018 season.
Any speculation about trading Kyrie Irving is ridiculous, as he and James are the two untouchables on the team.
The Cavs don’t have any draft picks in Thursday’s loaded NBA draft, but rookie free agents will be plentiful.