The Cavaliers have a ticket straight to championship contention in LeBron James, but they could use roster upgrades.
The Kevin Durant–Stephen Curry–Draymond Green–Klay Thompson Warriors feature a collection of talent unlike any we’ve ever seen, and Golden State could keep its wider core intact. The Warriors – up 2-0 in the NBA Finals – aren’t going anywhere for years to come.
So, who will try to fortify Cleveland’s roster for the challenge ahead?
Cavs general manager David Griffin is on an expiring contract, his future in Cleveland uncertain.
Griffin will seek a significant raise — he’s made less than $2 million annually, according to sources, which is low, especially for the GM of a team that has played in the last three Finals and is a defending champion.
Griffin became general manager when the Cavaliers fired Chris Grant during the 2013-14 season. They removed Griffin’s interim label a few months later. So, it’s not surprising someone with that path to general manager is paid less than peers who won wider job searches.
But, since, Griffin has convinced Kyrie Irving to sign a contract extension, facilitated LeBron’s return to Cleveland, traded for Kevin Love and filled out a roster that has reached three straight Finals and won the 2016 title. Griffin deserves a raise.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert reportedly denied the Magic and Hawks permission to speak with Griffin, which is Gilbert’s right but also particularly harsh if Gilbert doesn’t play to pay Griffin fairly himself. Gilbert can leverage every competitive advantage he holds, threatening to keep Griffin out of work next year. Most, if not all, openings will be filled by June 30, when the general manager’s contract expires. But it’s unbecoming to wreck someone’s livelihood like that, especially considering how much Griffin has done for Gilbert.
I don’t think Gilbert is that cold, and he’ll have an opportunity to prove it by retaining Griffin (which, not for nothing, would also probably be good for the franchise).