Days after Chauncey Billups rejected an offer to join the Cleveland Cavaliers as the president of basketball operations, details have surfaced that might have a lot do with why he turned them down.
According to a report from ESPN, Cleveland offered a $2 million annual salary — a below-market bid, according to ESPN — and it came after an initial offer of $1.5 million. Citing league sources, ESPN reports $4 million would be a more appropriate number for an NBA general manager.
“I have great respect for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I greatly appreciate the discussions we had regarding their organization,” Billups told ESPN after turning down Cleveland’s offer and withdrawing his name from consideration. “As I have conveyed before, ultimately I would like to lead a team’s basketball operation and be a part of a successful franchise. But presently, the timing just isn’t right to delve into that role in Cleveland. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on broadcasting and my other business endeavors.”
Cleveland has been known to be tight with its purse strings. The Cavs let former GM David Griffin walk after the team failed to renegotiate a second contract with him, despite Griffin’s ability to construct an NBA championship caliber roster. Griffin — who was instrumental in bringing LeBron James back to Cleveland and had a hand in putting together the club’s 2016 championship roster — made less than $2 million annually.
Despite rumblings that LeBron could once again leave Cleveland in free agency in 2018, Billups said it had nothing to do with why he did not accept the position.
“First and foremost, my family was 100 percent behind me taking the job,” Billups told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “It didn’t come down to that at all. At the end of the day, after carefully looking at the entire situation, I just felt it wasn’t the time. It’s that simple. I’ve got a ton of respect for Dan and the Cavs organization. But now just wasn’t the time.”