Report: Orlando eyeing Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who is without contract after season

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LeBron James got a long-term deal in Cleveland. So did Kevin Love. They locked up Kyrie Irving a while ago. Tyron Lue got a five-year contract. Tristan Thompson and J.R. SmithIman Shumpert signed multiyear deals. The Cavaliers have locked up their core.

Except for GM David Griffin. As was reported by ESPN a few weeks back, Griffin is working without a contract for next season. Griffin has the endorsement of LeBron and Lue, but that hasn’t gotten him a deal yet.

Now the Orlando Magic — who fired their GM Rob Hennigan after the season — may try to poach Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic’s search process for a new top basketball executive could extend until the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run, which would allow Orlando to gauge the interest of general manager David Griffin, league sources told The Vertical.

The Magic are researching multiple possible candidates to replace former GM Rob Hennigan, but the possibility of Griffin does intrigue Orlando president Alex Martins and top Magic officials, league sources said.

There are a few things to unpack here.

First, if I were Griffin’s agent, this is exactly the story I would want leaked. Even if Griffin would much rather stay in Cleveland, demand for his services will put pressure on Cleveland to make an offer, the kind befitting the GM of a title team.

Second, this would mean the Magic are willing to go through the draft with assistant GM Matt Lloyd running the show — the Magic are projected to have the No. 5 pick in the June draft and have a key chance to add a core piece to their young roster.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, and the new GM needs to be able to work with him.

Most likely the Cavaliers will step up and offer Griffin a healthy contract after the season, but so long as he is not locked up, there will be other suitors lurking.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

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The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.