Chauncey Billups was apparently aware of the tumult in Cleveland as he interviewed for the GM job.
Billups, a former 17-year NBA veteran, was the Cavaliers’ top choice for the position after they chose not to renew the contract of former GM David Griffin.
Billups, however, later pulled his name from the search, simply saying the fit wasn’t right.
On Tuesday, Billups told “The Vic Lombardi Show” on Altitude Sports 950 AM that he was aware of Kyrie Irving’s unhappiness with the team, though he didn’t say how much it affected his decision to withdraw from the search. Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavs earlier in July.
“It didn’t really surprise me,” Billups said of the news that Irving asked to be traded. “I knew as [the Cavs] were doing their due diligence on me I was doing the same thing on them. I knew so much about the situation that the rest of the world doesn’t know.”
Billups went on to call Irving a “special talent,” but seemed to hint that he thinks Irving has benefited from playing alongside LeBron James. Billups also seemed to question the logic behind Irving’s decision.
“So much of what he’s been able to accomplish on and off the floor has been as the beneficiary of LeBron James…
“That would be alarming to me if I was a team looking to get him. If it’s all about winning, you got a chance to win every single year. Every single year, you got a chance to win. And not only that, you’re getting everything you want. You’re getting all the shots you want, you’re playing for a great coach, when the game is on the line they’re coming to you, you’re playing on national TV every week. To me, I don’t get it. Everybody has their own desires. Maybe he wants to be Russell Westbrook and go try to win the MVP and get all the shots. That’s the only thing sense I can make of it, and to me that doesn’t make sense.”
Billups also said that rumors that James may leave the Cavs in 2018 didn’t affect his decision. Billups called rebuilding “beautiful,” adding that you just need patient ownership and good assets going forward – he didn’t believe Cleveland had the latter.
On Friday, the Cavs named assistant GM Koby Altman the full-time GM. According to reports, the Cavs feel confident that they can get a good deal in return for Irving. Altman will have his hands full with a job that Billups wasn’t willing to take.