"On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently his role in the franchise's first National Basketball Association championship", Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert said in a statement.
Griffin and Gilbert met last week - after the Cavaliers were beaten in five games by the Warriors - to review the season and discuss their future together. With his free agency looming in the summer of 2018 and the highly regarded Jerry West taking a job in Los Angeles rumors of a potential James departure have been circulating.
One has to wonder if Griffin and Gilbert disagreed on the major transaction the Cavs need to make this offseason to catch up to the Warriors. While James has manipulated the franchise to ensure that his Klutch Sports mafia (JR Smith and Tristian Thompson) received lucrative deals, it was Griffin who has filled in the cracks with veteran players to fit around LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Cleveland's senior vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden's contract is also up and he will not return either, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt reports. Right now the team is still trying to negotiate trades with Assitant GM Koby Altman and Gilbert running the show. He reportedly was deep in talks with the Bulls, hoping to work out a multi-team deal for Chicago's star guard Jimmy Butler, just hours before the Cavaliers told him he was being let go.
And much like 2010 when Gilbert gambled by firing Mike Brown as head coach because he thought that would help keep James in Cleveland, Gilbert's latest decision may have backfired - again. James wrote. "Thanks for what u did for the team for 3 yrs!"
Griffin took the job on an acting basis in February 2014 after Chris Grant was sacked. Pluto began writing "The Comeback" in 2014, the year LeBron James came home and took up the challenge of leading the Cavaliers to a championship.
It is no consolation to him, but Griffin is now part of a trio of general managers whose contracts were not renewed by Gilbert.
With James gone, the Cavaliers would either have to settle for being a mediocre Eastern Conference team that could at best make it past the first round of the playoffs or try and blow up the franchise entirely and hope to gain some draft stock after trading nearly all of it away to build the present team.