It’s a blessing and a privilege for an NBA general manager to have the greatest basketball player of a generation as part of the roster, but it’s also an incredible responsibility that comes with it and an insane amount of pressure.
Thankfully for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, David Griffin has risen to the challenge.
Griffin has managed to make trades and sign free agents despite the fact that the Cavaliers are maxed out from a salary-cap perspective, and he knows as well as anyone how important it is to surround LeBron with as much talent as possible while his championship window remains fully open.
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“You’re basically charged with the legacy of Babe Ruth, and it’s our responsibility to allow that legacy to grow and evolve,” Griffin told The Vertical. “So it’s almost like a sacred trust that the kid gives you. He’s so good, in his own right, by himself, that he sort of mandates you have to be a title contender just by his presence alone … and if you don’t capitalize on the years he has left, then shame on us.”
Griffin also dispelled the notion that LeBron is some sort of overlord who demands to make decisions where roster moves are concerned.
“I take offense to it on [James’] behalf at times,” Griffin told The Vertical. “He doesn’t like that image. I don’t think he wants that image. He wants to lead his troops. He wants to be a player. He wants to lead the guys from within. He never tried to do any more than that. I think for him, it’s almost an unfair characterization of him, that he’s some kind of overlord. That’s not at all what he does.”
James has, however, publicly nudged the front office in a certain direction. He lobbied for contracts to get done for both Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith when they were free agents, and after the Cavaliers traded for Kyle Korver this season, James said there were more moves the team needed to make, while specifying his areas of concern.