No one knew exactly what to make of it when the Cavaliers fired their GM David Griffin on Monday, including one LeBron “I’m sure he has a middle name” James, who issued one of his famously cryptic tweets on the subject.
If no one appreciated you Griff I did, and hopefully all the people of Cleveland! Thanks for what u did for the team for 3 yrs! We got us 1
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 20, 2017
Of course, this tweet might only be cryptic because we’re so prone to reading into everything LeBron does, so it could very well be a red herring. Perhaps LeBron James was simply issuing a goodbye to the man who help put together Cleveland’s first pro sports championship in 50-something years. According to Rachel Nichols, that’d be a naive assumption.
Wow. The wording of this tweet is…not accidental
Note: LeBron lobbied for David Griffin's contract to be renewed several times this spring https://t.co/9EmU9zqUiJ
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 20, 2017
Brian Windhorst would agree…
Dan Gilbert didn't consult with LeBron James prior to parting with David Griffin, sources said. James had advocated for Griffin extension
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 20, 2017
Others still think it may have had something to do with the pieces Cleveland was willing to deal for an offseason upgrade after getting trounced by the Warriors in the Finals. Maybe Griffin wasn’t willing/able to pull the trigger on something like this?
Windy says Griff had the framework set up to trade Love for the 4th pick which would in turn be used to get PG or Butler.
Still on table??
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) June 20, 2017
Some anonymous commenter named “Skip Bayless” suggested that maybe LeBron actually wanted Griffin fired — either because he couldn’t bring the right talent in or because he thought someone out there was better suited for the job — meaning Bron’s tweet was a smokescreen.
I'm sorry, I'm not buying that LeBron had nothing to do with David Griffin's firing. @undisputed. 9:30 AM ET. FS1
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 20, 2017
Lastly, we come to Adrian Wojnarowski, who seems to think that Griffin’s dismissal might be a move toward placating head coach Tyron Lue — and in the process, James himself — by adding yet another former player to the Cavs managerial staff.
Sources: Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert is targeting Chauncey Billups to become Cavs' top basketball executive. Sides expected to talk soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017
Billups has relationship with Dan Gilbert and Ty Lue, and sources say will be considered as President of Basketball Ops who'd make GM hire.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 19, 2017
Suffice it to say that, whatever the motivation behind the firing, the optics are that Dan Gilbert is flexing his ownership muscle. Maybe he’s resigned to the possibility that LeBron is as good as gone when his contract ends in 2018, so he’s no longer taking orders from him. Hey, it’s happened before — can’t blame the guy for thinking he’ll bolt for some tropical superteam once again.