Cavs Report: Changes coming, but not yet clear where
A few Cavaliers notes heading into Wednesday’s season-finale vs. the Brooklyn Nets:
— How displeased is Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that his team missed the playoffs? Well, "enraged" was the word most used by sources to describe Gilbert’s overall feelings. "Inside the organization is like a time-bomb waiting to go off," said one.
— That doesn’t mean Gilbert will overreact and start firing everybody, sources cautioned. It does mean he is expected to strategically (and perhaps slowly) find the best fit for running the basketball side of things this summer.
— That could mean keeping interim general manager David Griffin and giving him the job on a full-time basis. Sources said Gilbert has been impressed with the improved culture in the Cavs’ locker room since Griffin took over. However, Griffin landing the gig is still not considered a definite. One source close to the situation described the idea of keeping the current front office entirely intact as "shaky."
— The status of coach Mike Brown is also expected to be determined during the offseason. While the Cavs owe Brown a lot of money, the new GM (whether it’s Griffin or someone else) will be given the authority to make a call on the coaching staff, sources said. Gilbert, however, could possibly make the call on his own. Brown reportedly signed a five-year contract for $20 million (with a buyout option in the fifth year) before the season.
— As for the roster, again, that will largely be decided on by the new GM. Thanks to Griffin (and some of the moves made by former GM Chris Grant), the Cavs have plenty of assets and options. "The job is appealing, because the Cavs are right there," said an opposing executive. "I know a lot of people on our staff who would take it."
— The executive added that Gilbert’s obvious willingness to spend and desire to win are the Cavs’ biggest assets. "He won’t have a hard time recruiting candidates, if that’s the direction he decides on," the exec said.
— Whether the GM is Griffin or not, sources said the Cavs wouldn’t hesitate to trade anyone in the right deal. In fact, the general consensus is the team will go out of its way to make a significant trade this summer.
— Gilbert is said to be "still steaming" over the trade for forward Luol Deng, in which the Cavs sent center Andrew Bynum, a first-round draft pick, two second-rounders and the right to swap first-rounders in 2015 to Chicago. Gilbert isn’t upset with having Deng on the team (by all accounts, the Cavs will attempt to re-sign Deng), but was less-than-thrilled Grant surrendered future picks for a player who is an unrestricted free agent and could leave. The Cavs, of course, would receive no compensation if Deng signs elsewhere.
— The front office, coaches and players have all warmed up to guard Dion Waiters as part of the future, sources said. While the Cavs hope to make a deal to improve the club, the priority is to make Waiters and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving work as the long-term starting backcourt. Waiters is often mentioned as a potential trade chip, but his teammates have started to express that "Dion is a great teammate, and respected due to his effort and maturing," said a team source.