Until a few years ago, the Los Angeles Clippers were the NBA’s poster child for a horribly run franchise.
They spent a great deal of time participating in the draft lottery, accumulating a bunch of high draft picks, and for the most part made the wrong pick, or the player they selected had injury issues.
They seemed always to be in a state of chaos.
Dan Gilbert needs to get his franchise in order, and he needs to do it quickly.
After giving David Griffin the keys to the kingdom in naming his as general manager a few weeks ago, it appears the owner tried to lure Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari to the Cavs with a long-term deal and lots and lots of cash.
Perhaps Griffin was the guy who made the suggestion to hire Calipari, but it doesn’t seem like his style. It looks as though it has the fingerprints of the team’s owner all over it.
It’s time for Gilbert to start building a solid franchise and stop trying to make the quick fix, big splash move.
And as a franchise, the owner, GM, whoever the coach is, and everyone else who works at Quicken Loans Arena has to give up on the notion that if they make one move, then LeBron James will charge back to Cleveland on a white horse and rescue the Cavaliers.
Instead they need to put the pieces together to build a squad that can make the playoffs and start the process of contending for a high seed and eventually a spot in the conference finals. That will come by making the correct personnel decisions, hiring a head coach the players respect and developing an organization that expects to win.
If you look at what has happened since James departed, they spent the first couple of seasons not really trying to win, trying to follow the “Oklahoma City model”, which is basically stinking for a season, being able to draft Kevin Durant, and hitting the jackpot with future first round picks in Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka.
That requires a lot of luck, which the wine and gold have had in getting the top selection three times in four years.
They did draft an all-star type player in Kyrie Irving, who it remains to be seen if he has the toughness to be a franchise player. They picked Dion Waiters, a player much like Irving, Tristan Thompson, who looks like a journeyman big man, and Anthony Bennett, who was a wasted pick in his first year.
Why? Because when the front office hired the coach after Byron Scott, they hired a guy who has no track record of developing young players, despite having a roster full of them.
So now, they hire a new GM, and it appears the owner undermines him just a month after giving him the gig.
Again, maybe Griffin was part of that decision, but since he is interviewing assistant coaches like Tyrone Lue and Alvin Gentry, it doesn’t seem likely.
Gilbert is approaching joke status among national basketball writers. They can’t wait to see what happens next in Cleveland.
What needs to happen is for him to step back and let David Griffin run the organization. This team has some talent, but they need to get some players who compliment each other in exchange for all of the point guards and power forwards they currently have.
Cleveland basketball fans deserve more from the Cavs’ organization.