CLEVELAND | Chauncey Billups spun away from the Cavaliers.
After discussing a lead role in Cleveland’s front office, Billups withdrew from consideration Monday. The former All-Star guard had been in discussions with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert about joining the Eastern Conference champions, but Billups said the “timing just isn’t right.”
The Cavs have been looking for a general manager since David Griffin parted with the club just before the draft. Griffin helped guide Cleveland to three straight Finals appearances but could not resolve issues with Gilbert, who has yet to give a contract extension to any of the four GMs who have worked for him since 2005.
Billups met with Gilbert in Detroit and Cleveland. The 40-year-old does not have any front-office experience, but his solid reputation attracted him to Gilbert, who has known him since he played for the Pistons. It is believed Gilbert asked Billups to be the president of basketball operations.
Billups released a statement to ESPN on his decision. He’s an analyst for the network.
“I have great respect for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I greatly appreciate the discussions we had regarding their organization,” Billups said. “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.”
Billups, who has strong roots in Denver, previously interviewed for Atlanta’s GM opening.
Cavaliers assistant GM Koby Altman is leading Cleveland’s front office during free agency, and it’s possible he will assume the role full-time.
A person familiar with Gilbert’s plans said he’s continuing to evaluate the team’s front office structure and potential candidates. Gilbert has been impressed with the current leadership group headed by Altman, said the person, who spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The person said Gilbert is confident the group, which includes Mike Gansey, Brock Aller and Tony Leotti, can continue to “take important steps to position the team for success.”
Altman joined the club as its pro personnel manager in 2012.
To this point in free agency, Altman has overseen deals for shooting specialist Kyle Korver and veteran guard Jose Calderon. The Cavs can’t announce those signings until July 6.