Milwaukee Bucks: Is David Griffin a GM candidate?

Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly trying to snag Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin for their own GM vacancy. Is he a real option for the Bucks?

Most Milwaukee Bucks fans are probably well aware that former general manager John Hammond is now with the Orlando Magic, after signing a five-year deal there earlier this week and making me look very stupid for dismissing their pursuit of Hammond.

According to even more reports, the Bucks are now looking outside of their franchise for their next GM, and David Griffin is a potential hire. Griffin, who has been the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager since 2014, is not unemployed–he’s still the GM of the Cavaliers.

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As we saw with Hammond’s departure, though, that clearly doesn’t prevent a move to another team. Additionally, although Griffin is employed for now he might not be for long–Cleveland has yet to extend his contract beyond this season.

According to reporter Joe Vardon, the Cavaliers and Griffin could come to a deal between the Eastern Conference Finals, which ended on Thursday night, and the NBA Finals, which start a week from Thursday.

"“Griffin and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert have spoken about continuing their partnership in recent days, sources said, though no agreement was reached. The two sides could potentially get serious about a new deal between the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals, time permitting. Or further discussion could wait until after the playoffs are over.”"

Or, maybe the Bucks and Griffin could talk in that time. It’s worth noting that both the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic tried to interview Griffin and were prevented from doing so by the Cavaliers.

That may well happen again. According to Vardon, Milwaukee has yet to even ask about Griffin. Still, if for some reason Griffin was granted an interview and ended up being available to the Bucks, would he be a good option for Milwaukee going forward?

In a word: yes. Although getting LeBron James as a free agent had more to do with LeBron being born in Akron than Griffin being some sort of free agency wizard, he’s done a remarkable job of putting talent around LeBron.

While having almost no cap space and mostly draft picks and unwanted veterans to work with, Griffin has found ways to add Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, Andrew Bogut (for one minute), Channing Frye and Derrick Williams in the past few seasons.

Griffin hasn’t won every trade, and it obviously took him the first overall pick in consecutive drafts to get Love, but many of those added pieces were gotten for scrap parts and first round picks that end up being near the bottom of the first round.

It’s easy to say both that Griffin hasn’t planned out a post-LeBron future for the Cavaliers and that LeBron’s presence has helped him, but those are just aspects of the Cavs’ situation that come with the territory.

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You’re not going to hold on to a pick in 2019 and not acquire a player who can unlock another level and bring Cleveland a title. Telling LeBron that the future is more important than adding a Kyle Korver or Channing Frye is simply a nonstarter, and it’s foolish anyway considering how close Cleveland is to another title as long as the King is around.

The championship window is open right now for Cleveland, and Griffin reacted accordingly. He could likely use his magic to get a better supporting cast in Milwaukee, but with LeBron at the height of his powers it’s highly unlikely Griff would be out here swapping 2018 firsts for stretch bigs on expiring contracts were he running the Bucks.

Just as Sam Hinkie wouldn’t trade Giannis Antetokounmpo and tank, it’s important to remember that good general managers do what they feel is best. They don’t always stick to one strategy, like Phil Jackson does with the triangle.

Next: Podcast: John Hammond Emergency Episode

Griffin has proved to be a skilled negotiator and talent acquirer of talent in his time with Cleveland, and if the Bucks actually landed him it would likely be a good move for the franchise.