Six days since NBA free agency opened, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still without a general manager.
In June, it was reported that the Cavaliers and GM David Griffin would be splitting ways after they failed to agree to a new contract.
The situation had been simmering for months, with Griffin’s future uncertain, but it was nonetheless surprising as the Cavs simply let the GM who helped construct a championship team a year ago walk.
In Griffin’s stead, the Cavs were pursuing former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups to take the GM job, despite having no front office experience.
However, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc J. Spears, the Cavs weren’t able to land Billups, in part, because they offered him significantly less money than the expected starting salary of a GM.
“According to sources, the team’s initial offer was $US1.5 million. League sources told ESPN that $US4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn. Sources maintain financial compensation wasn’t the only factor as to why the 40-year-old Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part.
“Cleveland is known for its unwillingness to pay top dollar for front-office leadership.”
Additionally, according to ESPN, Griffin had been working as one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league in recent years, making less than $US2 million per season. Griffin reportedly wanted a big pay increase, leading to the split with the Cavs.
Haynes and Spears note that Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, a former agent, has no front office experience but makes an estimated $US5 million per year with the Lakers. Phil Jackson, the Knicks previous president of basketball operations, had no front-office experience when he signed a five-year, $US60 million contract with the Knicks in 2014.
Billups didn’t acknowledge the contract offer after turning down the job, only telling ESPN, “At the end of the day, after carefully looking at the entire situation, I just felt it wasn’t the time. It’s that simple. I’ve got a ton of respect for Dan and the Cavs organisation. But now just wasn’t the time.”
It’s unclear where the Cavs’ GM search will go from here. According to ESPN, assistant GM Koby Altman is currently in charge. The Cavs have had a relatively quiet offseason thus far, re-signing Kyle Korver and signing backup point guard Jose Calderon.
However, the Cavs have been engaging in trade talks for stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, who is still available. If those talks are to continue, the Cavs may want to act on stabilizing the front office. To do that, they may not want to lowball the GM they chose as their top pick to replace Griffin.