New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin detailed the challenges of his three seasons working with LeBron James as Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, saying the experience was “miserable” and questioning James’ winning instinct in Los Angeles.
Griffin told Sports Illustrated for a story published Thursday that the annual challenge of building a title contender around James was too stressful, even if it did result in a championship in 2016.
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said. “Literally the moment we won the championship, I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”
Sources close to James told ESPN on Thursday they were “shocked” at Griffin’s characterization of the superstar. James seemingly addressed the Griffin story via a tweet Thursday without mentioning him by name.
Alright alright. Enough is enough. The throne has been played with to much and I ain’t for horseplay. Ether coming soon! 😁🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥👑 #JamesGang✊🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 1, 2019
Former NBA center Kendrick Perkins, who played with James in Cleveland in 2014-15 when Griffin was the general manager (and in 2017-18 when Griffin no longer worked for the team), suggested Griffin should direct his disappointment at Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, not James.
Would Griff have any credibility if he wasn’t in the front office with Lebron on team? Griff for the last 2 years you praised Lebron for buying into the Culture in Cleveland and how professional he was and now your saying it’s inorganic?! Your real problem was Dan Gilbert!!! 💯👊🏾
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 1, 2019
Griffin and a person close to James spoke to each other after the SI story was published, sources told ESPN, and Griffin expressed that some context was missing behind his comments. James’ camp encouraged Griffin to clear up his stance on the record, sources said.
James’ contract structure with the Cavs might have contributed to the “inorganic” roster construction to which Griffin alluded. Upon returning to Cleveland for a second stint with the franchise in 2014, James signed a one-year deal with a player op