David Griffin: ‘Never Believed LeBron Return Could Happen’

From re-signing Kyrie Irving to signing LeBron James and Kevin Love – not to mention Mike Miller, James Jones and Shawn Marion – David Griffin sure seems to be getting the hang of this whole general manager thing.

Gosh, it’s been a pretty good offseason, huh?

“Certainly the noisiest offseason,” Griffin, the Cavaliers GM, said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “If we can win, it will have been a successful one. But it’s been exciting to be part of.”

Griffin had a very simple goal upon becoming Cleveland’s general manager in February.

“We wanted . . . to start to build a team that was an ensemble cast behind the ball-dominant play creation (of) Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters,” Griffin said. “We (had) the ability to make plays, (but) we needed to put more shooting around them, more basketball IQ, (more) toughness – and so we made a very direct plan to achieving those things.”

“Everybody that we bring in here will address parts of that and hopefully all of that. In the case of LeBron and Kevin Love, I think we probably touched on all of it. As we fill out the roster, we’re going to try to enhance those things.”

The city of Cleveland was both shocked and elated when James announced he would return to the Cavaliers. Griffin, in many ways, felt the exact same way. He, along with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, had met with James and agent Rich Paul, and it seemed that everyone shared similar goals. It seemed that everyone shared a similar vision. It seemed James-to-Cleveland was possible.

Seemed being the key word.

“To be honest with you,” Griffin said, “until he made his announcement, I don’t think I ever believed it could happen.”

Griffin admitted that he got a very good vibe from Paul, who also represents Cavs forward Tristan Thompson, but until a deal is done, you can never be sure.

“You’re hoping against hope for the best player on earth to want to come be part of what you’re building,” Griffin said. “So the fact that (James) wanted to come home . . . and win championships, it gave us a feeling that there was a chance.”

And then along came Love, who said James – within hours of rejoining the Cavs – called to recruit him to Cleveland.

James or no James, Griffin said Love had been on Cleveland’s wish list for at least a year-and-a-half.

“Kevin’s been a target for quite some time,” Griffin said. “When we met with David Blatt and interviewed him for the coaching position, we talked about what he needed to be successful, and he said a floor-spacing big. We told him we had one in mind and it was Kevin Love. He laughed and said, ‘Boy, I hope you can pull that off.’ And we talked about LeBron and he said, ‘Boy, if we could pull both of those things off, I’d look really good as a coach.’”

James has a way of making everyone look good – including, yes, Blatt and Griffin. But what about people who say they’re just figureheads? What about people who say James is really the one calling all the shots?

“Well, first of all, I don’t think you can overstate the impact that LeBron is going to have when every decision gets made – because he’s the kind of player that’s a destination player,” Griffin said. “So I don’t take offense to people saying LeBron’s doing everything. If LeBron makes it possible for us to get things done, then it’s sort of the equivalent of fishing with dynamite. I’m more than willing to do that.”


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