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David Griffin says he was ‘miserable’ winning a title with LeBron James


Newly installed Pelicans GM David Griffin spoke with Sports Illustrated for a lengthy profile published Thursday, and the topline is, as it should be, that he called his partnership with LeBron James in Cleveland “miserable.”

Specifically, “Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable.” This is not so ridiculous. LeBron’s return to Cleveland meant insane pressure to pull off an impossible task; that Griff actually did it doesn’t make it pleasant.

He also said that “LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that’s not fun for people. They don’t like being part of that world.” Griffin’s formulation is not quite right here; it might not be LeBron’s fault when his teams lose, but he definitely gets blamed. It’s certainly true that LeBron gets the credit when his teams win, because he should.

Griffin speaking at the Cavs' 2016 victory parade. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

What’s notable here is that this is basically the worst thing Griffin has to say about his time with LeBron in Cleveland. No juicy gossip or insane demands from LeBron, just that the pressure to win is very high and it means you’re not building a franchise from scratch the way you’d like to.

Griffin does go on to say that Laker LeBron isn’t “the same animal anymore about winning,” but that’s speculation, and a pretty common observation at this point.

(Griffin also sounds a little Marianne Williamson-esque at times in the profile, saying things like “I vibrate at a totally different frequency than that group” and “We felt like the draft was really deep on caliber of human.”)

But where Griffin gets truly objectionable is where he talks about what he’s building in New Orleans. “We don’t have guys that are complacent champions ... We’ve got really f---ing hungry winners.” So, not champions.

And even worse: "We’re going to put a different energy in the universe. It’s going to attract who it’s meant to. You won’t get everybody, but that’s OK. Get the right ones.”

David Griffin has won the NBA lottery three times and LeBron James joined his team out of nowhere one summer.