Longtime general manager David Griffin chose to step down from his position with the Cavaliers on June 19th. Since that decision was made by Griffin, the search then began for Cleveland to fill the vacancy he left behind. It did not take long for names to be linked to this enticing position, especially for a team with such recent successes. One of the names that have seemed to gather the most headlines for the job is ESPN personality, Chauncey Billups.
Billups has expressed interest in taking the job and the two sides seem to have a mutual interest in making it happen. The Cavaliers have expressed this interest publically and have offered Billups a five-year contract. This contract to become the president of basketball operations is currently being mulled over by Billups himself. An offer like this has raised a lot of questions due to the lack of front office experience from Billups. Now that the offer is on the table and NBA fans remain in limbo, it is now important to ask the question: Is Billups the right man for this job?
Billups’ case for the job
The basketball world all knows Billups a.k.a Mr. Big Shot and what he had achieved in his playing days. However, the task of being in a front office role is a serious undertaking for a newcomer. Nonetheless, former players were able to find success at some point in these roles. Some of which being: Larry Bird with Indiana, Danny Ainge in Boston, and Jerry West in Los Angelas and Memphis. The common trait that these aforementioned GM’s all carry was that they were a part of a winning culture in their playing days. In playing for a winning team they developed an understanding of what it took from each team member to succeed. Billups can carry his successes he had in Detroit and translate them into a front office role.
Billups has made it known that he has a personal friendship with now Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue. As can be seen from a recent tweet on Billups’ Twitter.
Had the pleasure of interviewing my main guy Coach TLue today. Tune in to NBA Countdown on ABC tomorrow to watch. pic.twitter.com/zfJngFCRJd
— Chauncey Billups (@1MrBigShot) June 12, 2017
A relationship with Lue could catapult Billups as a favorable candidate as the two would most likely see eye to eye on player personnel decisions. The first job if he is to be hired is to convince LeBron James to stay in Cleveland. A task that may be hard with other teams seeming to make trades that free them up for a run at the King. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Kevin Love all remain under contract through the 2019-2020 season (with Love and Irving having a player option in that final year). The pieces are still there for a person like Billups, who can take his own championship prowess into the front office and find the pieces necessary to return Cleveland to the top of the basketball world and also keep James happy in the process.
Billups is nice and all, but are there more logical contenders?
A former champion in his playing days with the “Bad Boys” of the Detroit Pistons back in the late 1980’s into the early 1990’s, Joe Dumars was just as successful in the front office. After his retirement following the 1999 season Joe Dumars didn’t have to wait long to find his next role. Dumars took a position as the Pistons General Manager in 2000 and stayed there until 2014. In his time with the Pistons he was able to win two NBA championships (with the help of Billups) as well as executive of the year in 2003. While he was the GM in Detroit they posted a 668-594 record. Dumars is a known winner all throughout his time spent in Detroit. The city of Cleveland could use his blue collar attitude and bring his winning ways into the front office position.
Yes, he was formally in this position with the Cavaliers from 2005-2010. Although he did not bring a title to Cleveland, he still established a winning culture in his time there. Danny Ferry’s time in Cleveland was over when ‘King James’ himself left for the Miami Heat. After five seasons in Cleveland with only one NBA Finals appearance, Ferry was relieved of his duties going 314-167. Ferry then went on to take a position with the Atlanta Hawks where he would find similar success. The Hawks would get no further than the Eastern Conference finals, and while there Ferry posted an overall record of 155-120. Ferry, now serves as an advisor for the New Orleans Pelicans. With Cleveland’s roster equipped with more weapons now than it was back in his time there, his prior success could grant Cleveland another chance for another title.
A logical name that could fit into the vacant position in Cleveland front office could be Trent Redden. Redden just recently left Cleveland after 11 years as the senior vice president of basketball operations. Redden is recognized as an upcoming executive that many believe could end up as a promising general manager. A familiar face familiar with the organization could take over, so no major overtaking would have to be feared. Allowing for a smooth and painless transition when bringing him in. The other plus that could result from this hiring is the experience that Redden will gain. He has already proven his commitment to the city of Cleveland after staying through the good and bad. A newcomer to the GM role could bring a sense of resurgence to the Cavaliers as it just may be what this team so desperately needs.
So who should Cleveland hire?
It is all but guaranteed that Billups will take the job offered to him. If Billups accepts then Cleveland will have gotten their guy. Although, Billups could have a change of heart and decide to reject the offer and remain an ESPN analyst. If that were to occur, the open vacancy could very well likely go to Redden. Assuming Cleveland does not want to bring Ferry back into the organization and are not entirely sold on Dumars, Redden would be the plausible fit. As mentioned previously, Redden has not had experience in the GM role. Be that as it may, his conviction to prove himself could play out well for the Cavaliers future. The sensible thing for Cleveland to do is to offer Redden a three-year deal. It would light a fire under Redden to succeed early on and save Cleveland from committing to something long-term. Be smart, Dan Gilbert.