Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin explained polarizing comments he made to Sports Illustrated published on Thursday in an appearance on ESPN program “The Jump” today.
Griffin was asked about why he felt “miserable,” as he was quoted in SI, despite constructing the LeBron James–led team that won the Cavs their first title in franchise history along with Cleveland sports first championship in over 50 years.
“It was my inability to deal with all of the scrutiny around that team. Everything was so much in the public eye all the time—that was not an enjoyable process.”
Griffin, who left the organization in 2017, agreed to join the New Orleans Pelicans front office as their executive vice president of basketball operations in April earlier this year. He’s since won the NBA’s Draft Lottery last May, selected Duke stud Zion Williamson with the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, and wheeled-and-dealed trades like sending All-NBA forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers to join former player James.
David Griffin discusses experiencing the constant scrutiny of the 2016 Cavs and the sudden pivot from rebuild to contention upon LeBron's return. pic.twitter.com/Cw0A4juhXA
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“We were really blessed to have people in our lives like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and LeBron that were playing at a really high level and a coach like Ty Lue,” Griffin explained. “That was obviously a journey that was well-worth going on. But all of the noise around it really sapped the joy around it.”
Griffin would later elaborate that his joy for the game of basketball was “sapped” in Cleveland after the championship win due to the constantly raised public spotlight and unsustainable level of expectations.