David Griffin says he knew he’d leave Cavaliers as soon as they won title: ‘I was miserable’

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Kyrie Irving was reportedly upset immediately after the Cavaliers won the 2016 championship.

Then-Cavs general manager David Griffin apparently felt similarly.

Griffin, via Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin says. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”

As champagne popped in the Cavs’ locker room, Griffin privately wept in an Oakland broom closet. A one-track mind had removed anything but delivering the city’s first championship in 52 years from consciousness. “I didn’t watch the league, and I didn’t love the game anymore,” Griffin says. “I was so fixated on outcome that I just totally lost my joy.”

“The reason is LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that’s not fun for people,” Griffin says. “They don’t like being part of that world.”

Griffin never truly felt comfortable in his Cleveland skin. “And I knew it. I vibrate at a totally different frequency than that group, from an ownership perspective,” he says.

Working with LeBron James is unlike anything else. For better or worse. There’s pressure and demands and passive-aggressiveness. There’s also a clear path to a championship opened by such a great player.

Griffin dealt with all the burdens and won a ring. That title will stay with him the rest of his life. It also opens doors, including to his current job of running the Pelicans’ front office.

Would Griffin have gotten that position without a championship on his resumé? His experience with LeBron provides the privilege of not having to find out.

Working for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was surely no picnic, either. He can be a pain. But like LeBron, Gilbert also opens doors. Gilbert’s willingness to pay big luxury-tax bills made it much easier for Griffin to build a championship roster.

As tormented as he was, Griffin stayed another year with Cleveland after the title. He clearly liked aspects of his job enough to stay in it. It seems he would’ve stayed even longer for the right price.

But Griffin is now in New Orleans and appears happier. I highly recommend reading Fischer’s full article for more details about that.