The Orlando Magic have one name at the top of their wish list for their president of basketball operations opening: Cavs GM David Griffin. Orlando has reached out to the Cavs for permission to speak with him about the opening, but, according the The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert has been unresponsive to that request.
Griffin’s deal with the Cavs runs up at the end of June, but with an important NBA Draft coming for the Magic and free agency starting July 1 at midnight, Orlando obviously wants to get Griffin — or whomever they are able to hire — on board prior to then. Gilbert and the Cavs have not given them the permission they need to speak with Griffin without violating the NBA’s tampering policy, so the Magic are left waiting for that opportunity, or to change course and go in a different direction.
The latter of those options is something Wojnarowski floats as a potential hope for Gilbert, noting that Griffin is expected to take a strong look at the Magic opening because of the increase in both power and salary he would receive from the position. Griffin is, currently, paid far less than the top general managers around the league and, according to Woj, there has not been a “substantiative offer” made to Griffin by the Cavs in an effort to retain him beyond June 30.
There’s also the matter of Griffin possibly wanting a new challenge. With LeBron James and the Cavs, at present, the challenge is tweaking the roster with minimum contracts and trades in order to build the best possible roster for a championship run. However, as long as James wants to stay around, with Love and Thompson signed through 2019 and Irving up and likely to get re-signed to the max after next season, there are very few thing for a GM to do to the roster.
Few teams present the kind of challenge in building a team as the Magic, and general manager types really enjoy the opportunity to build something from scratch. The Cavs are mostly set in stone through the James era, but the Magic present a blank canvas with which Griffin could try and test his skills as a roster builder without the training wheels provided by having LeBron. The question at this point seems to be whether the Cavs are willing to offer him a competitive salary or if they’ll be willing to relinquish him in time for Orlando to bring him in prior to the draft and free agency.