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Building around LeBron was 'miserable'

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New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin detailed the challenges of his three seasons working with LeBron James as Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, saying the experience was "miserable" and questioning James' winning instinct in Los Angeles.

 

Griffin told Sports Illustrated for a story published Thursday that the annual challenge of building a title contender around James was too stressful, even if it did result in a championship in 2016.

 

"Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable," Griffin said. "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."

 

Winning a title in his home state also has affected James' mindset on the court, said Griffin, who wonders whether James, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, is more preoccupied with other priorities.

 

"There wasn't a lot else for him," Griffin said. "I don't think he's the same animal anymore about winning."

 

Griffin told SI that he privately wept the night the Cavaliers won the title, saying he was so obsessed with winning that he "didn't love the game anymore."

 

Griffin ultimately parted ways with the Cavaliers in June 2017, with his contract set to expire at the end of that month.

 

"LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that's not fun for people," Griffin said of the challenge of working with and playing with James. "They don't like being part of that world."

 

James and Griffin have maintained a positive relationship since their time together in Cleveland. James went public with his disappointment when the Cavaliers parted ways with Griffin, and as recently as July, James took to Twitter to promote the business of Griffin's wife, Meredith Hale-Griffin, to his more than 43 million followers.

 

The Pelicans hired Griffin in April, and he has quickly reworked the roster after losing Anthony Davis by building around No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Griffin said he will continue adding players if the postseason is within reach this coming season.

 

"People are gonna be like, 'What the f--- are they doing?'" he said. "We're trying to win basketball games!"
 

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