Six days since NBA free agency opened, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still without a general manager.
In June, it was reported that the Cavaliers and GM David Griffin would be splitting ways after they failed to agree to a new contract.
The situation had been simmering for months, with Griffin’s future uncertain, but it was nonetheless surprising as the Cavs simply let the GM who helped construct a championship team walk away a year later.
In Griffin’s stead, the Cavs pursued former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups to take the GM job, even though he had no front office experience.
However, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc J. Spears, the Cavs weren’t able to land Billups, in part, because they offered him significantly less money than the expected starting salary of a GM.
“According to sources, the team’s initial offer was $1.5 million. League sources told ESPN that $4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn. Sources maintain financial compensation wasn’t the only factor as to why the 40-year-old Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part.
“Cleveland is known for its unwillingness to pay top dollar for front-office leadership.”
ESPN also notes that Griffin was one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league in recent years, as he made less than $2 million per season. Griffin reportedly wanted a big pay increase, which led to the split with the Cavs.
Haynes and Spears noted that new Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, a former agent, had no front office experience but now makes an estimated $5 million per year with the Lakers. Phil Jackson, the Knicks previous president of basketball operations, had no front-office experience when he signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the Knicks in 2014.
Billups didn’t acknowledge the contract offer after turning down the job, only telling ESPN, “At the end of the day, after carefully looking at the entire situation, I just felt it wasn’t the time. It’s that simple. I’ve got a ton of respect for Dan and the Cavs organization. But now just wasn’t the time.”
It’s unclear where the Cavs’ GM search will go from here. According to ESPN, assistant GM Koby Altman is currently in charge. The Cavs have had a relatively quiet offseason thus far, re-signing Kyle Korver and signing backup point guard Jose Calderon.
However, the Cavs have also engaged in trade talks for stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, who is still available. If those talks are to continue, the Cavs may want to act on stabilizing the front office.