The Orlando Magic recently asked for permission to talk to Cleveland general manager David Griffin about their president of basketball operations opening, but Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been unresponsive to the request, league sources told The Vertical.
Griffin’s contract expires at the end of June, and the Cavaliers could choose to hold onto Griffin past the end of the team’s playoff run and the NBA draft on June 22, and forbid him to engage Orlando until the cusp of July 1 free agency. For Gilbert, it could be a stall tactic in hopes of making Orlando grow tired of waiting on Griffin and eventually offering its job elsewhere; or Gilbert could be planning to relent and let Griffin discuss the Orlando job with officials at the end of the Cavaliers’ playoff run.
So far, Cleveland hasn’t made a substantive offer to Griffin, league sources told The Vertical.
Orlando is planning to start interviews with president candidates soon and hopes to meet with several possible candidates, including Milwaukee GM John Hammond and Kevin McHale, who is working in television now, league sources told The Vertical. Hammond has one year left on his contract, and Milwaukee ownership has discussed the possibility of a succession plan into a new regime.
Orlando has conducted an interview with interim GM Matt Lloyd, league sources told The Vertical. Lloyd is a holdover from former GM Rob Hennigan’s staff and is well regarded inside and outside the organization.
The Magic are competing with the Atlanta Hawks, who have a general manager opening. Atlanta is considering a number of candidates, including Griffin, Joe Dumars, Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and New York Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes, sources said. Atlanta is also planning to discuss the GM opening with television analysts and former players Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, league sources told The Vertical.
Houston has granted permission to Atlanta to discuss the opening with Rosas, its No. 2 executive behind GM Daryl Morey, league sources said.
New York has granted permission on Hughes too, league sources said.
There’s been a consistent belief inside and outside the Cavaliers’ organization that Griffin will aggressively pursue the Magic’s president job because of Cleveland’s unwillingness to offer him a market-level contract. Through the years, most in the employ of Gilbert believe that he has increasingly devalued the position of GM in his mind, believing that he can replace Griffin the way he did Chris Grant and Danny Ferry within the Cavaliers: promoting from within and paying less salary.
General manager salaries are on the rise with contending teams, including extensions last summer for Golden State GM Bob Myers and Toronto GM Masai Ujiri that will pay those executives north of $5 million per year, league sources said. Griffin was one of the architects of the Cavaliers’ NBA championship roster and makes far less annually than the highest paid of his peers.
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