For failing to rebuild properly the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Grant was axed from his position as the franchise’s general manager according to team owner Dan Gilbert.
Brian Windhorst from ESPN.COM reported the firing Thursday evening (Early Friday morning in Australia).
Gilbert’s reasoning is simple; the team would have wanted to battle for a playoff spot this season but the Cavaliers have underperformed so far and they are laying the blame on Grant, who had made some questionable moves before and during the regular season.
"This has been a very difficult period for the franchise," Gilbert said in an official statement. "We have severely underperformed against expectations.”
The Cavaliers carry a 16-33 win-loss card so far despite Grant’s moves including drafting Anthony Bennett as the overall number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, signing veterans Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum and trading for Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng. Grant also hired Mike Brown as head coach.
The Bennett pick appears to be the start of the downfall for the Cavs as he and the franchise became the laughingstock of the league as Bennett struggled even for important minutes in the first few months of his NBA career.
While there is still time for Bennett to prove the critics wrong, things don’t look to good for what is appearing to be a “bust” for the top pick in the draft. The 20-year-old Canadian has averaged 3.3 points and 2.6 rebounds and just 11 minutes in 37 games for the Cavs this season.
Meanwhile, Jack has provided some scoring (8.9 PPG) but has not lived up to expectations to serve as one of the veterans to help put some order in the Cavs' locker room.
Dealing for Deng (sending Bynum to the Bulls) had the same purpose of having more veteran presence in the team but again, the Cavs have played uninspired and unmotivated basketball even with his acquisition. Deng has logged in 15.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.3 APG in 14 games for the Cavs and he is set to become a free agent after the 2013-2014 season.
Assistant GM David Griffin will temporarily assume Grant’s role.
Is this the start of a fire sale in Cleveland? Who will follow his footsteps next? Head coach Mike Brown is a good candidate after having various run-ins with his own players this season.
What about star Kyrie Irving? Various reports have stated that Irving is acting like a spoiled brat on and off the court. The third year pro’s contract with Cleveland expires after the 2014-2015 season and after the Cavaliers disastrous experience with “The Decision” years ago, the franchise doesn’t want to lose another star via free agency for nothing.
Whatever the Cavs decide to do next, they made the good start in firing Grant, who after all, is primarily responsible for putting the team in this hole.