Billups endorsed Rock Financial, Gilbert's Detroit-based mortgage company, when the former National Basketball Association point guard was a member of the Pistons.
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Billups' relationship with Gilbert dates back over 10 years, as Billups endorsed Gilbert's Detroit-based mortgage company, Rock Financial, when he played for the Pistons, ESPN notes. Meanwhile, the owner's announcement was likely meant to restore some clarity to a situation that remains highly unsettled at a very delicate time. Griffin's contract expires on June 30, and he and Gilbert chose to mutually part ways after being unable to negotiate an extension and not sharing the same vision for the team's future. The Celtics traded the No. 1 pick.
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ESPN reported James was "surprised" that Griffin would not return despite having stalled contract negotiations throughout the year. Those included replacing former head coach David Blatt with Lue and then trading for J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov during the 2014-15 season, as well as acquiring three-point specialist Kyle Korver this season. He holds a $35.6 million player option in his contract after next season, so if he doesn't like what he sees, he could bolt Cleveland again - to the Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps? - leaving a power vacuum in the East. Plus, many observers speculate the team ought to try to make a trade for a big-named wing player, like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, in order to challenge the Warriors for the National Basketball Association crown. In a statement, Griffin said he was appreciative of the opportunity given to him by Gilbert.