With lack of progress, Cavs owner makes call on Grant
Chris Grant landed four top-four draft picks in three years. That included two No. 1 overall choices. He took a chance on Andrew Bynum. He traded for Luol Deng. He set up the Cavaliers for the future by always looking for the next deal, obtaining future picks and assets for next to nothing, all while protecting valuable wiggle room under the salary cap.
But here we are, nearly four years later, and the Cavs have not shown any improvement. Following yet another humiliating loss Wednesday (to the ridiculously undermanned Lakers), Cavs owner Dan Gilbert knew something needed to change.
A meeting was called for Thursday morning. Grant was fired.
"This has been a very difficult period for the franchise," Gilbert said in a statement. "We have severely underperformed against expectations. Just as this is completely unacceptable to our loyal and passionate fan base, season ticket holders and corporate partners, it is also just as unacceptable to our ownership group."
Grant was responsible for trading for what became the No. 1 overall pick that landed Kyrie Irving back in 2011. He drafted Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick that same summer, then Dion Waiters fourth overall the next year.
This past summer, the Cavs were again afforded some lottery luck, landing the top overall selection. Grant tried to trade the pick, but as one executive told FOX Sports Ohio, "his need to win every trade cost him this time."
Grant then used the pick on forward Anthony Bennett, who has struggled mightily in his rookie season.
Until Thursday, Gilbert had remained silent lately about the quickly collapsing state of his team. But he stewed behind the scenes. He stayed on top of his front office, particularly Grant, looking for answers and demanding solutions.
Such requirements are not going to change with interim GM David Griffin, promoted into Grant’s spot. Griffin, by the way, is widely respected among his peers. One opposing executive told FOX Sports Ohio he has "no doubt" Griffin will prove worthy of the job.
Gilbert wants it that way. He wants results and he wants them from the people currently in place. Anything else will undoubtedly mean more changes.
"Anything can happen this season," Gilbert said to reporters at a press conference Thursday.
League sources told FOX Sports Ohio late Wednesday that coach Mike Brown’s job was in jeopardy, just 49 games into his second stint with the Cavs. One dialed-in source defined Brown’s status as "in serious trouble." Grant was clearly in Brown’s corner. The two have a strong bond from their days together at the University of San Diego, as well their time together professionally. It’s hard to know if this maneuver has changed things for Brown.
That said, Gilbert did give Brown a dose of support Thursday, saying that the Cavs are "going to see Mike Brown succeed this year. I think he will be able to do good things in the next 30 games."
Still, the Cavs (16-33) most likely must perform better for Brown to feel secure — this despite having years left on his contract after this season. Since the Cavs are currently paying former coach Byron Scott for the rest of this year, it’s hard to imagine Brown being let go before the summer.
The bottom line is, Gilbert wants Brown to succeed, wants this to work out, wants the Cavs to get turned around. But based on Thursday’s firing of Grant, it’s clear the owner is not afraid to make what he considers difficult moves to get the ship steered straight.
"This is the most challenging time in almost nine years we’ve owned this franchise," Gilbert said. "We are not happy, no one’s happy."
He added, "We are going to keep going. We’re not going to quit. We’re not going to stop."