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Ex-Cavaliers GM David Griffin: Pressure to win with LeBron James made me 'miserable'

  • August 01, 2019

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New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin says he was “miserable” in Cleveland — in part because of the pressure that comes with building a team around LeBron James.

In a Sports Illustrated story published Thursday, Griffin, the former Cavaliers’ general manager, said he struggled with the must-win-now vibe that accompanied James’ return to Cleveland in 2014. He told the magazine that it overwhelmed him, and sapped his love for the sport.

“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun,” Griffin told Sports Illustrated. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was going to leave. There was no way I was going to stay for any amount of money.”

Though Griffin said he and James had a productive relationship, he explained that the process of constructing a team around the NBA megastar can cause headaches because “LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame.”

“That’s not fun for people,” Griffin told the magazine. “They don’t like being part of that world.”

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Griffin said he has felt significantly more comfortable as he’s started to rebuild the Pelicans, who hired him in April after he spent two years as a TV broadcaster. With the addition of Zion Williamson, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and a mix of experienced players acquired via trade and free agency, the Pelicans will likely be one of the most intriguing teams in the league this season.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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