Cavaliers GM Chris Grant comes under fire, but fans should appreciate his silence, Sam Amico writes.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
You can have faith in Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant.
There, I said it.
And I mean it.
I also write it as someone who initially thought the
Cavs should have made the rumored trade for Kris Humphries -- especially for the low, low price of Luke Walton.
I write it as someone who wondered if an alien had taken over Grant’s brain when the Cavs drafted Dion Waiters fourth overall.
And I write it as someone who has spent the summer much like you -- wondering where the Cavs stand in the free-agent market, wondering whether Grant ever plans to use all those assets, wondering if he’ll ever make a trade for anything more than more draft picks.
But I like how Grant handles his business. I like how he makes it very clear his business is not ours. I like how we always hear about the Cavs on the rumor mill -- but that we just
never know anything for sure.
I like it because it drives people insane. The list includes everyone from opposing GMs to reporters to those dominating the Twitterverse.
I also like it because it’s how small-market teams such as the Thunder and Spurs manage their own teams. They do it without so much as making a peep to the press. And hey, the Thunder and Spurs are pretty doggone good.
Like those clubs, Grant seems content to build through trades and the draft. Free agency appears to be a distant third.
Anyone else notice what the Spurs have done this off-season? They re-signed Tim Duncan. They re-signed Danny Green. They re-signed Boris Diaw. And that’ll be all, folks. Thanks for joining us.
Or how about the Thunder? They entered a team in the Orlando summer league.
Granted, the Cavs are light years away from the league's elite. But the Thunder and Spurs once missed the playoffs on a regular basis, too. They were bad, spent a couple years in the middle of the pack, and improved from within. They didn’t do something just for the sake of doing something -- which too often results in doing something stupid.
Grant and the Cavs share a similar philosophy. As coach Byron Scott has said repeatedly, “We’re not into making bad trades.”
Apparently, the Cavs thought the potential deal for Humphries fit that description.
The silent treatment
No one is really sure of the specifics, but the trade would’ve sent Dwight Howard (and others) from the Magic to the Nets, Brook Lopez (and others) from the Nets to the Magic, and Humphries (and others) to the Cavs.
The Cavs also were in line to receive a first-round pick, supposedly from the Nets, and cash. All for the fading Walton, who has one season remaining on his contract (for about $6 million).
For whatever reason, Grant and the Cavs felt it was a bad trade. Maybe they didn’t like the fact Humphries, a free agent, seems determined to land a multi-year deal before agreeing to a sign-and-trade. Maybe they’re aware Humphries hasn’t exactly been a household name on the market. Maybe they thought he just wouldn’t be a good fit -- and maybe they were never even as close to making the trade as we were led to believe.
Not by the Cavs, of course. But by people who insist they have access to their thinking.
Either way, the Cavs supposedly pulled out, and a nation wept. Not really, but there sure was a lot of whining going on within the league.
GMs who wouldn’t have been impacted by the reported deal trashed the Cavs. Reporters called them difficult. Fans became infuriated, demanding to know why the Cavs refused to potentially handcuff themselves with a guy who’s put together one good season on a lousy team.
We’ll probably never know the answers. All we can do is trust Grant. He hasn’t really given us a reason to do otherwise.
After all, he landed point guard and rookie of the year Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick in 2011 -- when a lot of people insisted Derrick Williams should be Grant’s guy.
He also took power forward Tristan Thompson three picks later -- and you can make the case Thompson was the best big man to come out of last summer’s draft.
As for Waiters, it’s true, he’s a mystery. But the Cavs needed a shooting guard, and now they have one. They needed a true center, and they got one of those too, as Grant traded three mostly meaningless picks to land No. 17 selection Tyler Zeller out of North Carolina.
All the while, Grant has remained largely silent. He hasn’t run to the media. He hasn’t shared the Cavs’ strategy. He hasn’t dropped a hint.
He’s just quietly gone about his business of keeping everyone else guessing, refusing to conduct himself like others say he should.
The fact others seem all ticked off about it may be the biggest reason for hope. It shows you Grant and the Cavs are in the business of Grant and the Cavs.