First, team owner Dan Gilbert stepped up to the mike (well, sort of, there was no podium so he just looked exposed).
“Obviously we’re very disappointed…it’s one of those things that you can’t believe it,” he said in a televised press conference.
Then General Manager Danny Ferry took the stage and didn’t sound like a guy that had been working on a Plan B.
“I think Dan and I need to sit down and review things. Then we’ll go from there,” Ferry said.
If there was one over-arcing feeling from the post-season press conferences for the Cleveland Cavaliers front office, it was that everyone was stunned. Disappointed, for sure, but caught off guard by the loss to the Celtics in round two. Shell shocked. After the first round of the playoffs they thought they were on the way to a title.
Now they are looking at a crazy amount of potential changes in one season – a coach, the best player in the game, a $20 million center all could be gone. Or not. There are a lot of variables.
What we know is right now Mike Brown has not yet been fired as head coach. Pretty much everybody knows that is what is going to happen, but Gilbert said that he wants to evaluate everything to do with the team — “we’ll look at the music we play in the arena” — then start going down whatever path they choose. Brown will not join them on that path, but nobody was going to say that today.
The bigger question is if Danny Ferry will be on that road. He had a defensive minded coach but kept giving him players like Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams — not exactly defensive stalwarts. He has spent to rebuild the roster, but has he done it wisely enough?
The biggest question is LeBron James and what he decides to do. And nobody knows that right now. Probably not even James. He will not make a decision until early July at best.
But he impacts every other decision for the Cavs. He will have some sway — maybe a ton of sway — in the search for a new coach. Same with potential free agents to be brought in. He dramatically impacts the revenue the franchise will pull in from ticket sales and sponsorships, changing the equation on the payroll expenditures short and long term. While the coach and general manager will be the first decisions to be made, no other dominoes can fall until LeBron makes his decision.
Gilbert said that he thinks the Cavaliers are in the middle of the sweepstakes for LeBron (he’s right about that).
“I think this is the best franchise for him to play at,” he said.
Gilbert did seem to have one direction he wanted to follow — he wants a team built more for the playoffs.
“I guess if there is one takeaway here, is having the best regular season record in the NBA is not as important… as we thought it was, as I thought it was,” he said.
He sounded sincere, talking about trying to learn from the franchises mistakes. He also sounded stunned.