The Cleveland Cavaliers are now a week removed from letting GM David Griffin walk out the door. In the time since, they’ve done…absolutely nothing.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Owner Dan Gilbert did meet with Chauncey Billups soon after Griffin’s departure. The former player is Gilbert’s primary choice to tab as his next president of basketball operations.
Of course, this all took place last week. In the time since, we’ve heard…absolutely nothing. While he reportedly made a counter offer, and there’s no timetable on when Billups will be making a decision.
While the Cavs eagerly (?) wait to hear whether Billups will take the position or remain with ESPN, Gilbert has been busy doing…absolutely nothing.
Sensing a theme here?
Cleveland’s owner, who knew Griffin’s departure was a very possible outcome the second he let him head into the 2016-17 season on the final year of his contract, has only interviewed one person. Said person – who has never worked in an NBA front office – is reportedly unsure if he wants to move away from his family in Denver. He’s taken the past week to think about the offer and counter, but still hasn’t come to a decision. In the meantime, Gilbert has given no indication he has a backup plan, or even another candidate to consider.
Also, free agency starts up later this week.
By all intents and purposes, it sure sounds like Gilbert is running the Cavs on a wing and a prayer. This lack of planning is an incredible cause for concern, and is occurring in quite possibly the most important offseason Cleveland has come across in a long time.
The Cavs’ current situation is alarming on its own. Desperately needing to find ways to close the gap between themselves and the Golden State Warriors, they’re currently relying on former assistant GM Koby Altman to try and swing trades. Outside of this, there’s not much of a front office.
However, when you toss in the fact Billups is the only person to receive an interview, and nobody with actual qualifications for the open position has even been discussed, it only makes things more concerning. On top of this, Cleveland is literally going through counters with Billups, despite the fact offseason activity is about to hit its peak.
When breaking down this current setup, I can’t help but ask numerous questions.
Why does Billups get over a week to decide whether or not he wants the job? Why isn’t there a deadline? Why is Gilbert OK letting Billups take his sweet time making a decision? Why does Billups, with no experience, get to counter offer?
Here’s a more important question – why hasn’t Gilbert talked to even one other candidate?
Gilbert is pinning his hopes on a man who, while a great basketball player, has no front office experience. Additionally, he’s letting said man ponder whether or not he actually even wants to be in a front office and refusing to talk to anyone else.
Finally, here’s the question which has me more worried than any other – what’s Gilbert’s plan if Billups says no? What if the two sides can’t agree on a contract?
While we don’t know what’s being discussed between these two, we haven’t heard enough to eliminate said situation as a possible outcome. If Billups decides he’s not willing to step into the high-stress life of retooling a championship contender while the threat of its best player leaving next summer looms in the background, what does Gilbert do?
While the rest of the NBA will be trying to make offseason moves, the Cavs will be busy restarting their process to find a replacement for Griffin. The ideal situation would be to have another candidate to fall back on. Instead, Gilbert will have to start from square one. He’ll have to assemble a list of candidates, meet with them and determine the best fit. All while the majority of offseason activity takes place around the rest of the league.
As you can see, pinning your hopes to one person is a risky move. Said person having zero experience only makes things worse.
There still seems to be strong belief Billups will eventually take the job. When he actually plans on doing so remains a mystery, but this is far better to hear than rumors of him leaning the other way while Gilbert holds off talking to anyone else.
Then again, there was strong belief he was going to re-sign Griffin, too.