CLEVELAND — In a move that many predicted over the weekend, the Cavaliers hired David Griffin as their general manager on Monday.
In a move that almost no one called, at least not this soon after naming a GM, they also fired head coach Mike Brown.
"Our ownership group is looking forward to David Griffin leading the basketball side of our business," Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said in a statement. "We interviewed several strong candidates for the GM position, including Griff."
Gilbert added that Griffin, "brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator."
Griffin took over for general manager Chris Grant, fired on Feb. 6. Griffin had been acting GM in that time. The Cavs finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs, but went 17-16 after Griffin took over the team. He indicated last month at his press conference that "17-16 is not good enough."
Brown coached the team during the LeBron James era from 2005-10. Brown led the Cavs to the Finals in 2007, but was fired following the 2010 season. He returned after his close friend Grant aimed to change the culture to a more defensive-oriented system.
However, while the Cavs improved defensively, they became worse offensively. The vibe around the locker room was that the players did not enjoy playing for Brown. Drama ensued, beginning with a confrontational team meeting within the season’s first month.
Sources told FOX Sports Ohio last month that Gilbert wanted to part ways with Brown, but cautioned that Gilbert may have been concerned with the fact Brown has three years left on his contract. Clearly, that did not turn out to be the case.
"This is a very tough business," Gilbert said. "It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best."
Brown’s assistants will remain with the team for the time being.
Prior to joining the Cavs in 2010, Griffin spent 17 years with the Phoenix Suns in various front-office roles. He will begin the search for a new Cavs coach immediately.
Potential candidates include former Suns coaches Mike D’Antoni and Scott Skiles, current Suns assistant Jerry Sichting, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, former NBA Coach of the Year George Karl, and former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who has already expressed an interest in the job.