INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Composed and confident for someone with such a hazy future, David Griffin is going about his job as if he’ll have it forever – or at least for the next few years.
Griffin, who took over as the Cavs’ interim general manager in February when Chris Grant was fired, said Tuesday he isn’t worrying about whether he’ll have the interim tag removed from his title by owner Dan Gilbert.
”I’m moving forward,” he said, ”because it’s what I do.”
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Griffin insists his only focus is on improving the disappointing Cavs, who missed the NBA playoffs for the fourth straight season.
During a 25-minute news conference, Griffin adeptly handled a variety of topics including his future and that of coach Mike Brown, plus the on-court relationship between All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Griffin wouldn’t say if he has spoken with Gilbert, but says he isn’t fretting.
”I feel very confident that ownership and myself will be moving in the same direction,” Griffin said. ”But I also don’t need to hear anything from them to know that tomorrow I need to get better. So from a timing perspective it’s irrelevant to me. I don’t feel a great sense of wonder right now. I know what the mission is. He doesn’t need to tell me that.
”It’s not like I come in and go, `Gosh, I wonder if I have the job today.’ It doesn’t work like that. So, we’re going to do what we do.”
Griffin, who joined the Cavs in 2010, stressed that he, Brown and others in the organization are ”under review” after the Cavs finished 33-49 and ninth in the top-heavy Eastern Conference, five games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot.
Gilbert has not publicly commented on the futures of Griffin or Brown, who is in his second go-around with Cleveland after being fired following the 2010 season. Following the home finale last week, Brown said he would respect whatever decision Gilbert made.
”I wouldn’t be sitting in this seat without him,” Brown said. ”It’s his team and whatever decision he makes with anything I’m going to support.”
If he stays, Griffin would like to transition the Cavs from ”asset-accumulation mode” into ”targeted-acquisition mode.” The team will have $26 million in salary-cap space this offseason. Cleveland also will have a decision to make on whether to offer Irving a maximum contract extension.
”I’m not going to campaign. I’m not running for mayor,” Griffin said. ”I understand what we need to do to get better. And if Dan and his ownership group are of that mindset, we’re going to get better together. And if they’re not, they’re going to do what they’re comfortable with. And that’s what I would want them to do.”
One of the league’s youngest teams, the Cavs were plagued by inconsistency all season. They couldn’t overcome a poor first two months as they struggled to adjust to Brown’s defense-oriented system, and there were times when they were disconnected on and off the floor.
Griffin outlined a preliminary plan to correct the flaws.
”We need to be bigger. We need to be much smarter as a team,” he said. ”Our basketball IQ needs to improve. Our shooting needs to improve. I feel strong that our toughness needs to improve. Those are things that we need to address, all within the confines of fit.”
While Griffin’s name has been linked to other jobs around the league, he made it clear there’s only one place he wants to be.
”You’re either all the way in or you’re all the way out,” he said. ”There’s no in-between. You declare a side. I’m all the way in.”