Cavs, GM Griffin part after title, 3 straight NBA Finals

Cavs, GM Griffin part after title, 3 straight NBA Finals

David Griffin's run with the Cleveland Cavaliers is over after one championship and three straight trips to the NBA Finals.

The general manager and team mutually parted ways on Monday when owner Dan Gilbert said Griffin's contract will not be extended once it expires June 30.

"On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently, his role in the franchise's first NBA Championship," Gilbert said in a statement. "We have no announcement at this time related to new leadership of the Cavaliers basketball operations group, but we are confident our current front office will continue to aggressively explore and pursue opportunities to improve our team in the weeks ahead."

Griffin's departure comes on the anniversary of the Cavs' dramatic Game 7 win over Golden State, capping a historic comeback that gave Cleveland its first major professional sports championship since 1964.

He's also leaving three days before the draft - the Cavs are currently without a pick - and on the eve of free agency. Cleveland could have a busy summer as it looks to revamp its roster after losing to the Warriors in five games in this year's Finals.

A team spokesman said Trent Redden, the team's senior vice president of basketball operations, is also not returning. Assistant general manager Koby Altman remains with the team and is part of a group overseeing draft preparation and trade talks.

The Cavs have reportedly been contacted by the Indiana Pacers in a potential deal for All-Star Paul George, who will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season.

The 47-year-old Griffin had been Cleveland's GM since May 2014. He took over the role on a full-time basis after serving as an interim GM for three months following Chris Grant's firing.

Griffin was in control during the team's return to prominence after LeBron James came back from Miami. Griffin orchestrated the trade that brought All-Star Kevin Lovefrom Minnesota, and he bolstered the Cavs' roster with other trades and crafty free agent signings.

However, perhaps Griffin's biggest move was firing coach David Blatt midway through the 2015-16 season despite the Cavs being 30-11. Griffin didn't think the Cavs were playing with the passion they needed under Blatt, and he promoted assistant Tyronn Lue, who led the Cavs to their first title.

Although the team scuffled at times during a disjointed 2016-17 season, James went out of his way to praise Griffin, even campaigning to get him an extension after he pulled off a trade to get Kyle Korver, one of the league's best outside shooters.

But despite Griffin's many successes, Gilbert decided they needed to go separate ways, ending a stretch of unprecedented accomplishments for the Cavs.

Griffin was the fourth GM to work for Gilbert, who bought the franchise in 2005 and has remained deeply engaged in all aspects of his team. That hands-on approach may have upset others, but Griffin seemed to find the right balance with his boss.

Griffin, though, did not get an extension after the Cavs won the title last year and he essentially worked as a lame duck during a sometimes turbulent 2016-17 season. Griffin was targeted by Atlanta and Orlando for GM openings, but Gilbert did not grant those teams permission to speak with Griffin during the playoffs. Those positions are now filled.

When another front-office vacancy in Milwaukee was recently filled, Griffin lost some leverage in his attempt to get a raise.

Still, there was hope Gilbert and Griffin could work out a deal, and the two met last week to discuss this past season and future plans.

They won't be together.


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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”