Cavs, Chauncey Billups Remain In Holding Pattern

CLEVELAND (AP) — An interesting, confusing, upsetting week for the Cavaliers hasn’t settled down.

Instead of closing the gap over the past few days on the champion Golden State Warriors, Cleveland has been trying to fill a significant hole.

gettyimages 460465754 Cavs, Chauncey Billups Remain In Holding Pattern

Chauncey Billups (credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Owner Dan Gilbert’s search to replace general manager David Griffin, who parted ways with the team Monday, is not yet resolved as talks with former NBA star Chauncey Billups have not progressed to a job offer. Two people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Thursday that Gilbert has not yet extended a contract proposal to Billups for a prominent role in his front office.

Gilbert met on consecutive days this week with Billups, who aspires to be an NBA executive, but they have not moved beyond talks, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Billups, a five-time All-Star player and one-time Denver Nugget with an impeccable reputation around the league, may be Gilbert’s choice to head his basketball operations following Griffin’s departure after guiding the Cavs to three straight Finals.

But nothing has been finalized and until someone is in place, the Cavs remain in flux hours before the draft and in the early stages of an offseason devoted to revamping an aging roster.

All the drama seems so unnecessary, but it’s hardly new in Cleveland, where LeBron James and his future are a constant topic of conversation and concern.

As Gilbert looks for someone to replace Griffin, the 40-year-old Billups would seem to be a perfect fit.

On the other hand, Cleveland might not be ideal for Billups.

The Finals MVP in 2004 when Detroit upset a Los Angeles Lakers “Super Team” with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, Billups has championship pedigree. Billups was one of the leaders on Pistons teams that played in six consecutive conference finals, so he understands the necessary commitment to stay among the league’s elite teams.

Billups also has a long-term relationship with Gilbert from his days in Detroit and he’s close friends with Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, another journeyman guard who has found success in the next chapter of his basketball life.

Billups lacks front office experience, but Gilbert would likely allow him to bring in someone to help his transition.

For Billups, any decision to join the Cavs may be more complicated.

The Cavs are loaded with talent at the top with James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love coming off their second straight Finals together — Love was injured when Cleveland made it in 2015 — and there’s no reason to think they won’t win the Eastern Conference again. But in building their “Big 3,” the Cavs exhausted assets to add quality players to the bench unless they’re willing to part with one of their stars.

Griffin dealt seven first-round picks in building the Cavs, leaving them only a 2021 first-rounder as a bargaining chip.

Also, James is entering his final season under contract and it’s possible he could leave Cleveland just as he did back in 2010.

Billups may not want his first gig as a major decision-maker to be with a franchise as high profile as the Cavs, who are under constant scrutiny and pressure. That’s the deal for any team with James and the weight will only grow next season as the three-time champion nears free agency again.

There’s also Gilbert’s track record for discarding GMs. He’s looking for his fifth in 12 years.

And beyond the basketball, if Billups is picked by Gilbert, he’ll also have juggle whether to uproot his family from its home in Denver and walk away from a cushy TV analyst job, a position he’s handled as smoothly as a double team during his playing days.

It will be a lot for Billups to consider.

If he turns then down, the Cavs will have even more to handle in a summer that’s just begun.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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