INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers made a big change
with another season falling apart, firing general manager Chris Grant on
Grant was fired a day after the Cavs dropped their sixth straight
game, an embarrassing home loss to a Los Angeles Lakers team that
started with eight players and finished with five. Vice president of
basketball operations David Griffin will serve as acting general
Owner Dan Gilbert made it clear he's unhappy with what has transpired
in a season that began with hopes the Cavs would make the playoffs
after a three-year absence.
"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."
Gilbert also met with reporters at the team's training facility
following the announcement. He expressed confidence that the Cavs can
show improvement under coach Mike Brown over the final 33 games. Grant
was instrumental in the rehiring of Brown, who was fired during his
first stint with the team in 2010.
Gilbert was asked if Brown's job was safe for the rest of this season.
"We're going to see Mike Brown succeed this year because I think that
he'll be able to do good things and I think this team will be able to
do good things," Gilbert said. "I think they're going to look at each
other and they're going to look in the mirror and they're going to
Gilbert also was asked why he decided to change his general manager but not his coach.
"Coach Brown has only been here over half a season," he said. "Chris
Grant has been here 8½ years. He's been the general manager almost four
years. There's a lot of talent on this team. I think everybody knows
Gilbert promised last spring the Cavs would not return to the NBA
lottery, but Cleveland is 16-33 and has dropped six in a row -- matching
its longest losing streak of the season. The Cavs are 5½ games out of
the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference and their only win
in the last nine games came over Milwaukee, which has the league's
"Accountability starts with me," Gilbert said. "I take responsibility for where we're at."
Grant's tenure will be known for not being able to rebuild the Cavs
fast enough despite having a slew of first-round draft picks, including
two No. 1 overall selections.
Grant addressed the team's poor play last week, saying everyone in
the organization was accountable, including himself. Grant took Anthony
Bennett with the first pick last June and then signed free-agent center
Andrew Bynum during the summer when no other team would offer the
7-footer a contract. Grant was able to unload Bynum in a trade with
Chicago for Luol Deng, but the forward's arrival has done little to
invigorate the Cavs.
Cleveland has been under .500 since the fifth game of the season and
the players have been slow to pick up Brown's system on both ends of the
In a season that's already had too many low moments, the Cavs hit
rock bottom Wednesday. Not only did they fall behind by 29 points to Los
Angeles, the Lakers played the final few minutes with five healthy
players, including one who was allowed to remain in the game after
committing his sixth foul because coach Mike D'Antoni was out of bodies.
The Cavs were booed throughout the game and Brown, who has been
unable to come up with any answers to stop his team's skid, benched
All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and three other starters in the fourth
quarter as Cleveland got back in the game before losing 119-108.
The acquisition of Deng last month brought hope the season could be
salvaged, but that proved to be temporary. The Cavs went 3-2 on a West
Coast trip, but followed that with a 1-4 record on its longest homestand
of the season. Cleveland then lost three consecutive road games,
including a 31-point rout by the Knicks on national television.
Grant joined the organization in 2005 as vice president of basketball
operations/assistant general manager. He was hired as general manager
on June 4, 2010. Griffin was hired later that year after spending 17
seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the last three as the club's senior vice
president of basketball operations.