A new Sports Illustrated story has caused some apparent tension between LeBron James and David Griffin. The pair were at the center of the Cavaliers’ NBA title run in 2016 that brought a championship to Cleveland. But since both left the Cavs, hindsight has made things more clear for Griffin. The GM, who now oversees the New Orleans Pelicans’ front office, spoke about James this week – namely his assertion that the Los Angeles Lakers’ star isn’t “the same animal anymore about winning” — and we now have some apparent drama.
James cryptically tweeted this on Thursday evening, and while it did not directly reference Griffin’s comments, it’s not hard to read between the lines.
Alright alright. Enough is enough. The throne has been played with to much and I ain’t for horseplay. Ether coming soon! 😁🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥👑 #JamesGang✊🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 1, 2019
Griffin had some other remarks about James, including mentioning how James got credit for successes while others were blamed for failures, but his comment about his focus no longer being on winning seemed to inspire that tweet. Then, in a story for ESPN, Dave McMenamin brought word that Griffin’s comments caught LeBron’s camp by surprise. It eventually, McMenamin reports, led to Griffin talking to someone in James’ orbit.
Sources close to James told ESPN on Thursday they were “shocked” at Griffin’s characterization of the superstar. James seemingly addressed the Griffin story via a tweet on Thursday without mentioning him by name.
Griffin and a person close to James spoke after the SI story was published, sources told ESPN, and Griffin expressed that some context was missing behind his comments. James’ camp encouraged Griffin to clear up his stance on the record, sources said.
It’s not hard to see how all of this would lead to James getting a bit peeved, especially because he’s always been a pretty big fan of what Griffin brings to the table as an executive. This has been reciprocated over the years, and amid Thursday’s news cycle, Adrian Wojnarowski pointed something out that someone close to Griffin also told McMenamin: His issues in Cleveland never had to do with James.
Covered a lot of ground in recent pod with David Griffin on building around LeBron James in Cleveland and his consistent context was this: The scrutiny and unforgiving pressure surrounding the environment inspired the joylessness of Cavs title run, not James himself. https://t.co/LgjSCmkHbr
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 1, 2019
This very well could all be one big misunderstanding between the pair, and it’s probably safe to assume this story isn’t quite over yet.