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Richard Jefferson says Cavs 'shocked' by David Griffin exit, compares GM to Theo Epstein

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Richard Jefferson says the Cavaliers players were "shocked" to hear Cleveland was parting ways with general manager David Griffin late Monday night.

Griffin shepherded the Cavs to three straight NBA Finals appearances and the first championship in franchise history last year.

Jefferson also referred to multiple reports that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert did not consult with LeBron James before speaking with Griffin for the final time, telling ESPN that "if Bron doesn't know, nobody knows."

"We shouldn't be shocked after we fired our head coach when we were in first place in the middle of the season," Jefferson said Tuesday, referring to David Blatt's dismissal in January 2016. "Still, it's surprising."

Jefferson said he had a lengthy conversation with Griffin on Monday night after the news broke. He likened the ending to a "no-fault divorce," pointing out that Gilbert did indeed tender an offer to Griffin -- the details of which are not known -- which Griffin walked away from.

Then again, Jefferson -- who conceded on his "Road Trippin'" podcast last week that he was weighing retirement -- is still under contract for $2.5 million for next season, so taking sides against his owner would not necessarily be prudent.

While Jefferson said he was discouraged by the news, especially that Chauncey Billups' name had already come up as a potential replacement -- "The body is not even cold yet," Jefferson said -- he also said the Cavaliers players will not waver from their focus.

"If Cavs fans are stressed out, just know that the mission doesn't change," Jefferson said of the Cavs' championship goal for 2018. "Nothing has changed in that regard."

Jefferson expressed confidence in Griffin's future prospects of becoming a general manager once again, comparing him to one of Major League Baseball's brightest executives, who achieved improbable success with the championship-starved Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

"He's the Theo Epstein of basketball," Jefferson said of Griffin. "He ended the curse. Not just for a team, but for an entire city."