The Trail Blazers are looking at the men making basketball decisions for the Cavaliers and Clippers for their front office.
Don’t laugh — if the criteria for the job is getting along with a pain-in-the-butt owner who injects himself into basketball decisions at bad times, front office people coming out of Cavalier and Clipper organizations should have a leg up on the competition.
The new report comes from Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources with knowledge of Portland’s thinking told ESPN.com that the Blazers have both Cleveland Cavaliers vice president of basketball operations David Griffin and Los Angeles Clippers vice president of basketball operations Neil Olshey on their wish list.
Those are the latest names on a list that includes former Warriors GM Chris Mullin, Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey and Oklahoma City front office guy Troy Weaver. Reports have Weaver and Griffin have interviewed for the position already.
Griffin was almost hired by the Denver Nuggets a year ago but the two sides could not agree to a contract. Olshey moved up to the GM spot for the Clippers when Mike Dunleavy was let go there.
The Trail Blazers have fired two well respected general managers — Kevin Pritchard and Rich Cho — the last two summers. While the official statements say otherwise, reports are those firings were basically due to personality differences with owner Paul Allen. Portland’s former director of scouting Chad Buchanan has run the ship while the search for a new GM has taken place.
Portland is taking its time on the search, but they can do that during the lockout without much fear.
David Griffin has signed on for some rebuilding.
Former Suns executive Griffin has been hired as the new Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN.
Griffin left Phoenix with Steve Kerr. He had been the frontrunner to take over as general manager in Denver, when talks reportedly hit a snag over money. Griffin wanted the going rate of about $1 million a year for the GM job, the Nuggets were offering less. Terms of his deal in Cleveland have not been made public.
Griffin will team with General Manager Chris Grant and coach Byron Scott to rebuild the Cavaliers franchise. While there will be a pecking order, what really matters is that all three are on the same page in terms of the kind of team they are trying to build.
Griffin and Grant are both bootstrap guys, people whose first job in an organization was as an intern and they worked their way up the ladder. In theory, that should bode well for what they are trying to build. But rebuilding there is going to take time.
It didn’t take long after David Griffin backed away for the Denver Nuggets to find their new general manager.
Masai Ujiri will be hired for the position, according to the Denver Post. Ujiri was a former Nugget scout who most recently was director of international scouting for the Toronto Raptors.
He will report directly to Josh Kroenke, the soon-to-be owner of the Nuggets who has injected himself into player personnel decisions and is expected to take a more active role in that area. Ujiri is a native of Nigeria who attended high school in the states, played his college ball at Montana State and played professionally in Europe.
He walks into a situation with a lot on his plate. Carmelo Anthony has an extension offer (three years, $65 million) that he has not touched waiting to see what direction the Nuggets take. There is also the issue of trying to move J.R. Smith, who had a scuffle with someone at a recent practice at the Nuggets facility (not a Nuggets employee, but a player in a pick-up game).
The question is how much power will Ujiri really have — Kroenke has asserted himself into the role of decision maker. That was part of what Griffin balked at (that and the money offered). But Ujiri knows players and the game, so he could be a good team with Kroenke.
The Denver general manager job will not be going to a name you know (unless you are an NBA front office insider, and even then).
Former Suns executive David Griffin turned down the job, according to Ric Bucher of ESPN. So to be clear, an unemployed guy just turned down the job.
That’s not really as big a shock as it sounds. The Nuggets Josh Kroenke — son of owner Stan Kroenke and the guy in line to get the team if his father does buy the St. Louis Rams — and family advisor Bret Bearup are expected to be heavily involved in player personnel moves. It was those two that met recently with Carmelo Anthony about the contract extension the team has offered but Melo has not signed.
That means whoever gets hired as GM will do the legwork and have input, but there are questions about real power. And since Kroenke and Bearup will be making the calls, they don’t want to pay the $1 million a year that most new GMs are getting on average (it’s more if you want a name like Kevin Pritchard involved). The top names out there will not accept that money and situation.
Masai Ujiri, director of global scouting for the Toronto Raptors, may be the next guy in line, Bucher says. He’s a guy with good player knowledge who could fit well with how Denver sees the GM role.
What is it with nobody signing the contracts the Denver Nuggets are offering lately?
The Denver Nuggets have offered Suns executive David Griffin their general managers job, but the two sides are still negotiating money, according to Sam Amick at FanHouse.
A source close to the process said the holdup has everything to do with the perception of the position itself. With the Nuggets having let go of executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman in early August, the increasingly-influential son of Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, 30-year-old Josh, and team adviser Bret Bearup have taken lead roles when it comes to the team’s personnel. As such, the financial expectations as the Nuggets see them for this particular general manager position shouldn’t be on par with the rest of the league.
Josh Kroenke went and met with Carmelo Anthony last weekend to try and convince him to sign that other contract the Nuggets have sitting out there.
If what Amick reports is true, the Nuggets going to have a hard time filling that spot with a quality person — all the top flight guys would balk at making less money to work as the lackey to a 30-year-old owner. Even if Denver is convinced that is not the reality, that is how some (many?) will perceive it.
The bigger question is: With Melo watching this, what is he thinking this says about the future direction of the Nuggets?