Over the past few weeks, we have been critical of the roster mix for the Cleveland Cavaliers, calling them and their roster of point guards and power forwards the “island of misfit toys”.
Today, GM Chris Grant paid for that roster construction with his job, being fired by owner Dan Gilbert after another disgusting loss to an undermanned Los Angeles Laker squad last night.
The question now is who is running the show going into the trade deadline, which figured to be the first step into reshaping this roster. It looks like assistant GM David Griffin gets the gig for now.
You also have to wonder what Grant’s firing means for Mike Brown, because you would have to imagine the new GM would want to hire his own coach, unless someone is promoted internally.
Grant made some solid trades in his tenure, getting a first round choice from the Lakers for Ramon Sessions, trading Jon Leuer to Memphis for three players and another first rounder, and getting Luol Deng from Chicago for Andrew Bynum, a player the team had suspended.
However, it will be questionable draft picks that sealed Grant’s fate.
He operated out of the box on his picks, taking Tristan Thompson at #4 three years ago, which was surprising, and he selected Dion Waiters in the same spot the following year when it appeared he would be picked later.
This year’s use of the first overall pick on Anthony Bennett didn’t help his cause.
The issue isn’t the talent level of Thompson and Waiters, both have shown they can play in the NBA, the problem is the Cavs have become a puzzle whose pieces do not fit together.
Thompson is the same type of player as Anderson Varejao, and Bennett is a power forward, the same position Thompson primarily plays.
Waiters is a player who likes to have the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, so does one of the team’s best players: Kyrie Irving.
So, those two have a problem playing together.
We get that Grant took who he felt were the most talented players at that spot, and really that is the purpose of the draft.
However, a good general manager needs to see that he has duplicated talent and use the excess assets to get people who can play positions where they have needs.
Grant tried by getting Deng, but he didn’t seem to value shooting the basketball as a skill set needed to win basketball games.
Looking at the roster, the closest the wine and gold have to a pure shooter is swingman C.J. Miles, who Grant signed as a free agent.
His coaching hire doesn’t seem to have worked out either, although there didn’t seem to be an exhausting search. Whether that was Dan Gilbert’s decision or Grant’s, we just don’t know.
Mike Brown was a curious choice, not only because he used to coach here, but because he seems to favor veteran players, and the current Cavaliers are a very young basketball team.
Now, where does this franchise go?
The obvious answer is the dreaded “tank” word, but unless the new GM is predisposed to deal a high draft choice, all that will do is bring another “project” onto a team replete with them.
Does the reformation of this basketball team start with another deal before the NBA trading deadline? It’s pretty clear a change needs to be made because they can’t go through another 30 games playing like they have the last two weeks.
However, the new GM will have to act quickly to start getting the Cavaliers on the correct path. He also has to make a decision on who will be the coach.
Firing Grant was a tough move to make, but the direction of this team had to be changed. The guess here is this was just the first shot fired.