Cavaliers, WWW

The Sound of Silence: While We’re Waiting

The Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager David Griffin parted ways on June 19. Sure, his contract was to run through June 30, but semantics are subservient to reality. Since this moment in time, the league has held it’s annual evening of refreshment in its two-round amateur draft as well as the open season period of its increasingly chaotic free agency window. Ostensibly, these key moments in an NBA team’s offseason have been spearheaded by 34-year-old Koby Altman, a long-time assistant to Griffin who had, along with Trent Redden (who was also relieved of his duties), helped manicure a roster that had made it to three consecutive NBA Finals. Not as ostensible: The defending Eastern Conference Champions have been navigating through a several-week stretch of incredible importance without so much as a general manager in place, all while the team owner, who has been one of the league’s more outspoken individuals through the last several years, remains quiet.

As the Cavaliers head into a crucial season, one that features the final season of LeBron James’ current contract with the organization coupled with the overarching expectations of perennial contention, all eyes are squarely set to team owner Dan Gilbert. It’s Gilbert who was widely celebrated as the man being willing to spend at an incredible rate in order to provide the city of Cleveland with the best team possible. It was Gilbert who green-lighted a deal that would send an inexpensive four-year deal with Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota to take on Kevin Love, a player who would be offered a five-year $113 million contract in the subsequent offseason. It’s Gilbert who is paying nearly $4 million for every $1 million spent this offseason. But it’s also Gilbert who, reportedly, wouldn’t relinquish power to Griffin during negotiations of his contract. It’s also Gilbert who, reportedly, provided a low-ball offer to the man he had pegged to be the team’s next President of Basketball Operations in Chauncey Billups—a man who, by the way, had no experience prior to said offer—who was brought to Cleveland earlier in the month in what appeared to be a mere formality prior to taking the job.

Following each season, teams typically set up exit interview-style availability with coaches and players. Given that the Cavs’ Finals hopes came to an end on the road, giving local media a chance to ask some parting questions would have been a standard operating procedure. These didn’t happen. In years past, media has also gathered at Cleveland Clinic Courts for the NBA Draft, getting late-night availability of the front office. This didn’t happen. The team will say this was done because they did not have any draft selections—which is true. But had they been able to swing the deal they had in place midway through the second round, this immediately changes. Individually, none of these items are of immense magnitude, but as they pile up, the perception is one of dodging the scrutiny that has become increasingly deserved since Game 5.

Those who wish to defend Gilbert will lob empty rhetorical grenades—”What’s he going to say?” has been frequently used. And while it’s true that he could simply outright lie like he did the time he denied being on a place heading down to Miami in the summer of 2014, he looks like a man without a plan. Worse, he’s appears to be a man without a short-term plan while the long-term value of a team he’s committed to propping up with his wallet looks to be on the decline with each additional rumor and lack of commitment from LeBron James. It was James who recently released a video discussing his relationship with Gilbert, further cementing his decision to return was exclusively about Cleveland and its fans, and was in spite of Gilbert as opposed to because of him. It’s no coincidence that over this same period of time, we now get reports that not only is Gilbert a sudden fan of Altman’s, but the re-circulation of a piece stating that the Cavs somehow lost money during their championship-winning season. Couple all of this with Gilbert’s recent trip to the White House during the Cubs’ World Series celebration, and it’s been an all-around optically horrible stretch for Gilbert, who could go from the man Cleveland fans almost universally applauded to the one who may somehow chase the greatest player of this generation away from his team—twice.

https://twitter.com/KingJames/status/877006123357929472

NBA League meetings are set to take place in Las Vegas over the coming days. The annual event houses executives and department heads from various lines of work, all of whom discuss their respective landscapes and how they can continue to be the most progressive league of the three major sports. Barring any changes, it will be the Cavaliers who will walk in to those meetings with Altman, but without a front office in place, the only team of the 30 to do so. If there’s any silver lining, it will be that Gilbert will finally have to talk. How much he says, however, remains the question.

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  1. OK, this one is *kind of* sports, but it’s definitely writing. []
  2. Curt Schilling Alert. []

  • Chris
  • Chris
  • Chris

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/92a3ff01fa440dd9bbba00ecfab8a8cf75f4f326e261e6fdc1c8fb99ac2252ce.png
    I was going to hold off for RGB’s thunder, but couldn’t resist since this was on-topic.

  • Chris
  • RGB

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56f80a238c8b4a956ec953e138b967bf893ab1e4881ef90ba058d599c5e75f9f.jpg

    One of my personal faves.
    Also here, Reggie Rucker, Leroy Hoard and Trent.

  • RGB

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7530601ed3770985a1676a9c722d651fae07081e9241d5c121504bdc16a4b8d3.jpg

    Played with the Browns from their inception in 1946 through the 1953 season. Also played under Paul Brown in High School, College, and Pro.
    Who else were you expecting?

  • RGB
  • MartyDaVille

    I thought for sure you were going to go with the Michigan man.

    I’m afraid R2 has trashed his legacy here.

    Ah, Trent.

  • MartyDaVille

    One hot summer morning in 1957, former Buckeye and one-time Pro Bowler Fred “Curly” Morrison showed up for practice at the Hiram training camp and asked,

    Why is Jim wearing my jersey?

    Uh, coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e03445eaec95e70d694828d707bdb4ff8d9b3bbb66777185ddc671266eb15dde.jpg

  • MartyDaVille
  • RGB
  • Chris
  • Harv

    ‘Cutch? Says something about me – or this dumpster fire of a franchise – that despite watching every game for decades until recently, I don’t recognize these guys.

  • JM85

    Griffin couldn’t work out a deal with the Knicks either. I found that interesting.

  • Harv

    The Jose Ramirez of the Browns. Punched well above his weight, didn’t need a reason to play hard, nuthin’ but a baller.

  • Harv

    YEAH RIGHT NO BEST PLAYER IN UNIVERSE EVEREVEREVER WHO SHUD BE COACH AN GM RIGHT NOW. OR BERNIE

  • Harv

    My last hope is that we’re heading to a dramatic Mike Brown-type sitch. Nick will tell dad to just apologize to Griffin, pay him and go concentrate on the new Detroit skyline. Because otherwise the forecast is long-term suckitude, by mid-’18 or shortly thereafter.

  • RGB

    Yep.
    I think we are all victims of repressed memories.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    any photo with Larry Bird deserves an uptick.

  • nj0

    I have fooled myself into believing that I could be an NBA GM. Between the level of competence at the position around the league and the fact that like 80% of the teams are pretty much irrelevant at any point in time, I think I could remain employed as long as I kept my head down and don’t do anything too out of the ordinary.

  • nj0

    I can’t decide – Roy Batty or Feyd Rautha??? I’ll say Roy Batty.

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off
    the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the
    Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in
    rain. Time to die.

  • Garry_Owen

    I saw this very photo last week and was hoping you would do this exact thing (because I know what you’re doing Wednesday – and I’m absolutely okay with that).
    Nice work.

  • BenRM

    In a weird way it makes me feel better about the current status of the Cavs. Maybe Griff was asking for a whole lot more than we realized.

  • RGB

    You have to be Rain Man to understand and successfully manipulate the NBA salary cap rules.

  • nj0

    That’s the job of the capologist.

  • mgbode

    you’ll wind up getting antsy and offering Tim Hardaway Jr. like $71m or something…

  • RGB

    Try to be a good GM without one, though.
    Who is our capologist, BTW?

  • Chris
  • jpftribe

    Phil Jackson is available.

  • Chris

    Offer it to Steve Kerr…

  • RGB

    Touche’.

  • nj0

    That’s what I’m saying though – how bad would you have to be to even get noticed? In a sport where trying to get Carmelo Anthony and pair him with James Harden is applauded, how can you screw up?

  • nj0

    “Try to be a good GM”

    But I’m just shooting to be a mediocre GM. This should be enough to achieve that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_salary_cap

  • mgbode

    …on a team coached by a guy that quit the last time he was forced to try to motivate Melo

  • RGB

    Kinda like reading the War And Peace Cliffs Notes the night before the comprehensive essay final.
    It could work.

  • tsm

    Thinking this same thing for a few days. Gilbert comes to his senses when he realizes he has no one to replace Grif. Unfortunately, I suspect his ego won’t let him do this, given the fact that Grif wants the power to make the decisions on the players.

  • nj0

    It’s how I became an expert in risk management.

  • CBiscuit

    Sadly, begging and sobbing whilst backing up the Brinks truck would change very very little as to our destiny (now or next year).

    I like Griffin and he made some nice moves overall on the margins, but he’s not going to work miracles here. Unless of course, he can somehow alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport me off this rock.

  • chrisdottcomm

    Too late, the Knicks already offered him a huge con…….oh, oh wait. Nope, nevermind.

  • chrisdottcomm

    Scottie Pippen.

  • Chris

    Or renowned diplomat Dennis Rodman

  • Harv

    Doesn’t have to work miracles. Only needs to show his usual competence such that LeBron is pacified that this place gives him as much a puncher’s chance as any to grab that last ring. GS isn’t permanently invincible from major injuries or ennui.

    Listen, this was tongue in cheek. Griffin ain’t no Mike Brown. He’s feisty, he’ll have decent options next off-season and he’s most likely fed up dealing with Gilbert in ways we won’t know until, as usual, Windy or some other national media shares the string-along-with-Dan tune they tried to make him dance to.

  • CBiscuit

    I agree overall. And on your last points, I think that while making Gilbert the overbearing boss faulting him for “letting Griffin walk”…I think there was probably a larger issue of Griffin wanting to bolt–maybe realizing that and setting a steep price in terms of $ and power to put up with Gilbert’s ess.

    Plus, he’s no dummy—he realized this roster is maxed out and asset less—if he got his pay day, he’d be in a scalding hot seat with little room to maneuver. And for that, I don’t begrudge the man. I also think that’s a similar calculus Chauncey had.

    In the end, looks like we’re just going to promote from within.

  • chrisdottcomm

    Ambassador of Basketball Operations.

  • Harv

    I hear you except not sure anyone tosses away one of the few GM jobs unless they can’t take it anymore. And Griffin was trying to swing big deals until almost literally his last day here, not a symptom of one intent on moving on. So yeah, from the info we have available I don’t feel the need to evenly share blame. Gilbert thinks anyone can do the job, and because of that won’t pay a GM even a third of what he pays Imam Shumpert.

  • CBiscuit

    Indeed, it’s out of alignment and the GM deserves more moolah relative to the scrubs. But well, Imam is the spiritual leader of the team…

  • Harv

    lol

  • Joanbmaske

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