On the verge of starting a new future title contender in New Orleans, Pelicans general manager David Griffin is ready to open up about the last time he led a championship team. Griffin said that the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers went about getting a ring the wrong way, torpedoing their long-term prospects in search of a win.
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said in a new interview with Sports Illustrated.
Griffin said that the environment wasn't one he felt at home in, telling the magazine that he decided to move on from his six-years-held post no matter what after the 2016 win.
“Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money,” he said.
He said that his time in Cleveland soured him on the sport of basketball and Griffin left the world of front offices completely for a few seasons.
“I didn’t watch the league, and I didn’t love the game anymore,” Griffin said. “I was so fixated on outcome [in Cleveland] that I just totally lost my joy.”
He came back for the prospect of rebooting a franchise in New Orleans, hoping to build the team up from its perennial also-ran status.
“Culturally, I’ve always wanted to raise a family at a team,” Griffin said, with the piece noting that he wanted to build a culture of success like Golden State.
Griffin thinks he can build around New Orleans' retooled roster of championship-seeking veterans, star player Jrue Holiday and sensation rookie Zion Williamson. Though he's quick to cool the idea that the Pelicans are Zion's team. He said that the focus of this year's Pelicans will be on the group of hungry players eager to win.
“We don’t have guys that are complacent champions,” Griffin said. “We’ve got really f---ing hungry winners.”