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Gilbert plans to meet with Griffin about new contract, believes team can play with Warriors

By Joe Vardon • Jun 13, 2017 at 7:30 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert told cleveland.com he would meet with general manager David Griffin "in the next few days" to determine his future with the franchise after crafting a roster that's gone to three consecutive Finals and won it all in 2016.

"I feel good about our talent, our personnel, coaching staff, everything," Gilbert said after the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors 129-120 in Game 5 Monday. The Warriors are champs, having beaten the Cavs twice in three seasons.

Griffin, 47, has a contract that is set to expire June 30. He oversaw the highest payroll in the NBA this season at about $128 million, a team that stormed through the Eastern Conference playoffs but lost to a juggernaut Warriors team in the 2017 Finals with the league's last two MVP winners and a core that's set up to stay together for years.

"I think the franchise is strong, especially in the playoffs," Gilbert said. "We ran into a very good team. Little breaks here or there are different, different circumstances, we're right there.

"It's not one of those things where you think you're not going to be able to compete against these guys. I think we have a great core and a great future."

Gilbert declined to say if he was confident Griffin would return -- "it's not fair to him for me to discuss that," Gilbert said -- and the two have not spoken about a new contract over the past few days.

Griffin, who is seeking a raise from a current salary of less than $2 million and some structural changes to the organization, declined comment Monday evening. His name was mentioned for GM openings in Orlando, Atlanta, and Milwaukee, but the Magic and Hawks were denied permission to interview him.

While Griffin's status remains uncertain, Gilbert made clear he was happy with the direction of the franchise. He stressed that he did not see the need for major roster changes to answer the Warriors -- who added Kevin Durant to a team that already had Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson.

Golden State blew out the Cavs in games 1 and 2 of the Finals, stole Game 3 in Cleveland after trailing by six with three minutes left, were hammered by the Cavs in Game 4 and saw a 17-point lead in Game 5 dwindle to three points.

"It's not one of those years where you feel like it's a bitter ending," Gilbert said. "Gave it truly our best shot. We're always looking for the inches to get us over the hump. And I think we can play these guys without issue, just look at some things on the fringes, on the edges. We've got a front office that does all that."

"I don't see a big gap," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue added.

LeBron James' contract is guaranteed for one more season at $30.9 million. He can opt out of the final year of his deal next summer, and could be in line for a multiyear, $209 million contract with the Cavs.

James could also choose to finish his career in another city.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are both under contract for two more seasons.

"I'm not in the front office, but I know our front office is going to continue to try to put our ball club, put our franchise in a position where we can compete for a championship year in and year out," James said.

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