Ex-Cavs GM David Griffin was lining up potential Kevin Durant acquisition after 2016 NBA Finals
Fresh off their first NBA championship in 2016, it only took days for the Cleveland Cavaliers to start looking toward their future. In late June, then-Cavs general manager David Griffin gathered his staff and gave them a clear order — to explore ways to acquire Kevin Durant, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
Durant was largely expected to sign back with the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he was due for a hefty contract, but whispers of a potential link-up with the Golden State Warriors grew stronger after an unforeseen loss in the NBA Finals at the hands of the Cavs.
Griffin’s plan to acquire Durant would require some major landscaping, as it would involve gutting most of the roster around LeBron James to acquire him, but the front office had to at least do their due diligence, as most others did as well.
“I don’t believe you can dream big enough in the NBA,” Griffin told Lowe, recalling that meeting. “You have to go through the exercise.”
Unlike other teams, the Warriors had the flexibility thanks to a royal bargain of a contract for Stephen Curry (four years, $44 million) and several strong bench cogs in relatively friendly deals.
To do so, they traded Andrew Bogut and said goodbye to Harrison Barnes, which ultimately opened up the possibility to acquire him in the summer.
Griffin had to try and make something happen, even if it was unrealistic — but the Cavs were already out of the picture as a potential destination and the moves to make it happen were too many to pull off with such a tight time constraint and no guarantees for a meeting with Durant.