The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Thursday that general manager Chris Grant had been fired. This is no surprise to anyone who has watched this team play during Grant's reign.
The Cavaliers are a dreadful 16-33 on the season and are currently on a six-game losing streak. Their last loss came to a depleted Los Angeles Lakers team that lost even more players during the game. The Lakers were down to four available players by the end of the game – due to more injuries and players fouling out – yet were allowed to play with five due to a little-known NBA rule.
Cleveland still couldn't find a way to win the game.
Grant is not on the court each night, but he is responsible for the players that are. During his tenure, since the departure of LeBron James, the Cavs have the worst winning percentage (.287) in the NBA.
Grant has been known to attempt the bold move instead of the safe one, especially when it comes to the draft. With a small-market team like the Cavaliers, this never seemed like a smart strategy.
Aside from Kyrie Irving, who was a no-brainer number one pick, Grant reached on Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick in 2011, Dion Waiters with the fourth pick in 2012, and Anthony Bennett with the first-overall pick in 2013. All of these players were considered reaches at the time of the picks and have proven to be so.
Grant took the free agent risk on Andrew Bynum in the offseason and to his credit worked out a contract that made it of little risk to the Cavaliers. Yet Bynum was more of a disappointment than many expected (considering he suited up 24 times for the Cavs) and was eventually benched and traded.
The trade resulted in the acquisition of Luol Deng, who was expected to bring help on both sides of the ball, but especially the defensive end. Since the Deng move, Cleveland has gone 4-10 and neither their offense nor the defense has seen much improvement. Deng will be a free agent at the conclusion of the season and it seems he is already looking forward to getting out of this organization.
The final, and perhaps most puzzling, move was the decision to re-hire Mike Brown. Brown was fired in 2010 in an attempt to keep James and failed in just over one season with the Lakers. Grant thought Brown would bring a defense-first mentality to the Cavaliers, yet they are ranked 21st in defensive efficiency (number of points allowed per 100 possessions).
Brown has had two of the NBA's best players – James and Kobe Bryant – disapprove of his coaching. Brown may not be the biggest problem for the Cavaliers, but he certainly wasn't the solution for this team, as none of his coaching traits play to this team's strengths.
All of these decisions were made by Grant and all of them have resulted in the Cavs' failures over the past three seasons. No one gets every decision correct, but Grant missed on too many for a team with little room for error.
The Cavaliers said that assistant general manager David Griffin will take over in the interim as they search for the next person to fill the position.
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- Cleveland Cavaliers Deal Andrew Bynum, Draft Picks; Acquire Luol Deng
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