David Griffin says LeBron James' comments were inappropriate from teammates' perspective
After LeBron James’ call for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ front office to do more as a result of their 124-122 loss on Monday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, who were without star forward Anthony Davis, David Griffin, Cavs General Manager, is keeping his focus on how the team can help itself on the court.
James’ frustrated comments came in a post-loss visitors locker room on Monday while he spoke with members of the media.
We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint,” James said Monday. “We’re a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as shit. I just hope we’re not satisfied as an organization.”
On Tuesday, after sleeping it over, James posted a few tweets to clear the air with regards to his remarks.
I’m not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job.I just feel we need to improve in order to repeat…if that’s what we wanna do.
I not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job, I just feel we still need to improve in order to repeat…
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 24, 2017
if that's what we wanna do.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 24, 2017
Yesterday (Wednesday), the Cavs squared off against the Sacramento Kings inside Quicken Loans Arena, which resulted in a 116-112 victory for the road-bound Kings. Prior to last night’s game, Griffin spoke to reporters with regards to believing in his team and its current personnel. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin recants Griffin’s quotes in his recent article.
The thing we have to do the most is get better from within,” Griffin said in a brief meeting before the game. “This is the team we have, and we really like this team a lot. We believe in this team at a deep level, and we need to get better from within and play better, quite frankly. We need to have a greater sense of urgency and start to develop a championship identity. I think it’s clear we have not been doing that.”
Griffin met with James one-on-one about his comments before Coach Tyronn Lue addressed the team as a whole at the Cavs’ walk-through on Wednesday. “Griff,” as Griffin is affectionately known, took exception to James calling out the franchise’s commitment.
The comment about the organization being complacent I think is really misguided,” Griffin added. “Organizationally, there is absolutely no lack of clarity on what our goal set is. We are here to win championships, and there is no other solution, there is no other outcome that is acceptable, and there never has been. But in terms of the on-the-court complacency, I’ve seen a lot of that.”
A source told ESPN that there was disbelief that James could question the Cavaliers’ pledge to repeat as champions. Dan Gilbert, Cavs owner, is on the hook for the largest payroll in league history at more than $127 million. Questioning the man who has worked so hard to get his team to championship caliber seems a bit foolish. Another source tells ESPN that the timing of James’ words was “brilliant,” as the Cavs have thrived in the face of adversity the past few seasons.
We’re a team that will create an opportunity for ourselves to have to dig out of a hole,” Griffin said. “We do it in every single game. It’s just how we are. We’re not good from the front. We’re much better when we’re the hunter. I see us every year put ourselves in position to have to fight out of something. It’s what we’ve done as a team, and it’s hard for me to tell you we’re dealing with a lot of adversity when we’re No. 1 in the East. But we have a tendency to be our best when our backs are against the wall, so I have no reason to believe that won’t be true now.”
Griffin did not disclose the details of his talk with James, saying:
I’m going to keep that in-house, but it was a good conversation. I think we both needed it. I’m happy it happened.”
“Nothing changes our timeline,” Griffin said. “Nothing changes our game plan, and we’re still working the same avenues, and we’ll continue to do so.”
McMenamin also reports a team source told ESPN that Griffin expressed his disappointment in the way James elected to share his thoughts on the roster.
It wouldn’t have been my preferred method,” Griffin told reporters. “It certainly wasn’t appropriate from a teammate perspective. But, it is what it is.”
Obviously, the Cavs, who are still sat atop the Eastern Conference with a 30-and-14 record, will have to get their act together if they indeed intend on repeating as NBA champions. Losing six of their last eight games should give the defending champs the wake-up call they need.