The 2019 version of the NBA trade deadline was one of the more chaotic ones in the league’s history, with big names like Kristaps Porzingis and Tobias Harris changing teams and another, Anthony Davis, asking for a trade that ultimately never came to fruition. All of that traffic had David Griffin reminiscing about his time as the general manager in Cleveland, and the pressures of needing to get better in mid-February under the weight of a championship or bust mindset.
“I think I, over time, got more comfortable in my lack of comfort, which takes time,” Griffin told Dime. “By the end, the trade deadline was a really enjoyable process. In the beginning, when you’ve absolutely got to get better, it’s pretty stressful.”
Griffin has now watched two consecutive trade deadlines pass as a member of the media instead of working the phones deep into the night. He’s a regular contributor to NBA TV, and recently helped judge four contestants who were put through the ringer of general manager duties to see if they have what it takes to run a successful NBA franchise. The show is called “GM School,” and it debuts Wednesday night.
Griffin is still eyeing a return to a front office himself, and while he waits for the right opportunity, he took some time out to talk to Dime about that crazy trade deadline, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James patching things up and when it might be time for him to run an NBA franchise again.
Dime: Tell us about “GM School.” It sounds like a pretty cool concept.
David Griffin: SAP did a great job of putting together four really diverse contestants with totally different backgrounds and totally different strengths. Obviously the analytics portion was significant. NBA TV helped out with Rosalyn Gold-Onwude as our host, she does a phenomenal job. She sort of oversees the entire process, all of the challenges, etc. Evan Wasch from the NBA’s analytics department takes them through a draft-related analytics exercise. Kevin McHale took them through an exercise as well.
I just think we had a neat approach to it. I think there’s a little bit of drama, there’s a little bit of that reality show contestant feel, but there’s also a pretty deep basketball conversation. So I hope it ends up talking to both the analytics nerds that I might be and more casual fans that are just intrigued by the NBA.