<
>

Sources: Cavs offered below-market president of basketball ops salary to Chauncey Billups

play
Cavs lowball Billups on front office position (0:52)

Ramona Shelburne discusses Cleveland's salary offer to Chauncey Billups and why he rejected the Cavs. (0:52)

The Cleveland Cavaliers offered Chauncey Billups what is viewed in NBA circles as a below-market salary of $2 million annually for the role of serving as president of basketball operations, league sources told ESPN.

According to sources, the team's initial offer was $1.5 million. League sources told ESPN that $4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn.

Sources maintain that financial compensation wasn't the only reason Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part.

Cleveland is known for its unwillingness to pay top dollar for front-office leadership.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had no prior front-office experience, and he is believed to be making $5 million annually. Former New York Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, who also had no executive experience, was signed to a five-year, $60 million deal.

Although the five-time All-Star has no prior NBA executive experience, Billups is considered around the league as a future front-office star.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and former general manager David Griffin elected to part ways last month after a failed, yearlong negotiating window. Griffin, 43, made less than $2 million a year, one of the lowest salaries in the league for that position.

Griffin, who orchestrated multiple complex, high-profile trades that contributed to the franchise capturing its first NBA title in 2016, sought a significant salary boost and more power within the organization.

Gilbert refused.

This unusual front-office void at the top in Cleveland comes at a pivotal juncture for the organization. The 2017-18 season will be the final year with superstar LeBron James under contract.

Billups, 40, recently told The Undefeated that he did not consult with James, nor did James' future in Cleveland factor into his decision.

"First and foremost, my family was 100 percent behind me taking the job," he said. "It didn't come down to that at all. At the end of the day, after carefully looking at the entire situation, I just felt it wasn't the time. It's that simple. I've got a ton of respect for Dan and the Cavs organization. But now just wasn't the time.

"These kinds of decisions go down to a gut thing and my spirit. It just wasn't time."

Koby Altman, the Cavaliers' assistant general manager, is currently in charge in the interim.

Billups interviewed for the Atlanta Hawks' general manager opening last month. He will continue in his role as NBA analyst for ESPN.

"My desire is to be in the front office at some point," Billups told The Undefeated. "I want the opportunity to build something special and to enjoy building it. That is something that would be very exciting to do, to build something desirable and sustainable."