By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
INDEPENDENCE: Now that Chris Grant has been removed as general manager, plenty of questions remain for a floundering Cavs team that has failed miserably to meet expectations.
David Griffin will be the acting general manager from now through the end of the season, meaning he will navigate the Cavs through a difficult trade deadline. They enter the game today against the Washington Wizards closer to the league’s second-worst record than they do the playoffs after owner Dan Gilbert was adamant that winning was the goal for this season.
“At this point, I haven’t frankly been focusing on our exact games away from the playoffs,” Gilbert said. “We’re focused on the future and the chemistry and the culture and the environment of this team. If we can turn that around, anything can happen. Anything’s possible this season. I can’t sit up here and make exact predictions on where we’ll be.”
Griffin joined the Cavs in 2010 shortly after Grant was hired as general manager. Before Cleveland, Griffin spent 18 seasons with the Phoenix Suns. He was a finalist for the GM job with the Utah Jazz a couple of years ago and turned down the head job with the Denver Nuggets before coming to the Cavs.
Griffin was not available to reporters Thursday, and Gilbert wouldn’t really declare if the Cavs will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
“I don’t think we’ve looked at it that way,” Gilbert said. “We’ve looked at it as, ‘Is there a move that can be made that can improve the short-term, the long-term prospects of the Cleveland Cavaliers? That’s the prism of how we look at every potential deal.”
Grant’s departure brings into question coach Mike Brown’s future. Gilbert said a couple of times Thursday that he believes Brown can win with this team and that he wants to give him more time. Grant had four years as GM, Gilbert said, Brown has had half of a season.
“We’re going to see Mike Brown succeed this year,” Gilbert said. “I think he will be able to do good things in the next 30 games or so. I think this team is going to be able to do good things. They’re going to look at each other, look in the mirror, and they’re going to rally. We’re going to do everything we can to give them [what] they need.”
It’s unclear at this point how strongly Gilbert will consider Griffin for the permanent GM job after the season. If Gilbert clears out the front office after the season and hires a new GM, that new GM might want to pick his own coach. Brown just signed a five-year, $20 million contract last summer when Gilbert conceded that firing him four years earlier was a mistake.
“I don’t think Mike’s happy or anybody’s happy,” Gilbert said. “I don’t think anybody’s happy with the performance of this team. There’s no use sugarcoating it in any way shape or form. We can do better, we should do better and we will do better.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.