It wasn't just the Cleveland Cavaliers' loss to the Lakers who literally ran out of available players Wednesday night. It wasn't just reports of Luol Deng being unhappy or that Kyrie Irving has an attiude or that Dion Waiters is a problem. It wasn't just the 16-33 record in a season that was supposed to be a playoff year.
It was all of this, and more, but the result is the same. The Cleveland Cavaliers announced that GM Chris Grant was fired Thursday morning. From the Cavs:
"I would like to thank Chris Grant for his eight and a half years of service with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the last three and a half as General Manager. Chris always conducted himself with class, integrity and was motivated by what he believed was right for the organization. We wish Chris and his family the best in the years to come," said Dan Gilbert Majority Owner of the Cavaliers.
“My entire focus the past eight years has been on trying to build a team that can contend and win and provide Cleveland fans the success that they deserve,” said Grant. “I have a tremendous appreciation for the players that are here and the coaches that I have worked with, as well as our front office. I thank them for all of their dedication and commitment to the Cavaliers.”
Gilbert went on to address the current situation and the path ahead:
"This has been a very difficult period for the franchise. 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. I can assure everyone who supports and cares about the Cleveland Cavaliers that we will continue to turn over every stone and explore every possible opportunity for improvement to shift the momentum of our franchise in the right direction. There is no one in our entire organization who is satisfied with our performance, and to say that we are disappointed is an understatement. We all know the great potential of our young talent, seasoned veterans, as well as our recent all-star addition. We believe a change in leadership was necessary to establish the best possible culture and environment for our entire team to flourish.
There is no move, nor any amount of capital investment, we will not make if we believe it will improve our chances of competing and winning in this league for both the short and long term. The fans of this great city have invested too much time, money and effort for the kind of product we have recently delivered to them. This must change," concluded Gilbert.
Grant took over for the Cavaliers after GM Danny Ferry was fired in 2010 in an attempt to retain LeBron James in free agency by forcing a series of moves. Grant then took over the rebuild of the Cavaliers. His tenure was marked by a series of quality trades for picks that never seemed to produce the right selections, and a culture that lacked any accountability for star Kyrie Irving or anyone else.
Grant blasted the players' effort last week, in what was clearly a desperation move to attain some level of accountability. But things have only gotten worse. The questions now become how to get back on track with this franchise, and what other changes are coming, in the roster or coach's office. The rebuild effort that Dan Gibert promised would lead to a title before LeBron James won one has fallen short, and the chances of James joining the team in free agency look beyond remote.
Grant finishes his time with the Cavaliers with an 80-199 record as GM.