Article: David Griffin says he was “miserable” in Cleveland, questions LeBron James’ desire to win with Lakers
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is now in charge of the Pelicans. Even though he won a championship in Cleveland with superstar LeBron James, Griffin now describes his time there as “miserable” in a SI.com article about his new job.
The New Orleans EVP and General Manager also was quoted as questioning James’ current desire to win championships before the end of his guaranteed Hall of Fame playing career.
“I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning,” said Griffin, who partially backed up that claim in a sense by his own actions by agreeing to take back future draft choices and pick swap options from James’ Lakers in the trade that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles this summer.
James and Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert pressed Griffin hard to build a championship roster for them, and Griffin’s good fortune upon the return of LeBron to the Cavs after winning title with the Heat quickly turned into less positive vibes for the team builder.
“The reason is LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that’s not fun for people,” Griffin said to SI. “They don’t like being part of that world.” Griffin also takes blame for not having enough urgency to improve the Cavs’ chances for a repeat after winning the 2016 NBA Championship.
In response to fallout from the release of the article, Griffin appeared on ESPN’s The Jump program to clarify his remarks, some of which he said were taken out of context. ESPN reported that James’ camp encouraged Griffin to clear things up publicly. Griffin noted on The Jump that the media scrutiny surrounding LeBron and Cavs’ challenge to win a title was an issue but not James himself.
“The fact that there was so much scrutiny in everything that we did, when I was speaking about being uncomfortable and being miserable, it was my inability to deal with that media scrutiny,” Griffin said on The Jump. “It wasn’t the man himself.”
Griffin also explained that he meant he once feared there was no way James could have the same level of passion to win after finally delivering a title to Cleveland. “And what we’ve seen is he’s gone to multiple Finals since, so it was an unfounded fear,” Griffin said about James.
The in-depth feature goes in depth in Griffin’s Cleveland days and the current excitement and contentment he expresses in charge of the Pelicans.
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