It was a disappointing season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They were aggressive in free agency last summer, getting Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark, both of whom were coming off of productive, above-average seasons. And, they took a chance on Andrew Bynum, just in case he was able to become healthy enough to contribute to a campaign intent on making the postseason in a very weak Eastern Conference.
None of those moves panned out, obviously, and it cost Cleveland GM Chris Grant his job mid-season. Interim GM David Griffin wants the job more permanently, and said he will continue his aggressive pursuit of players who can immediately improve the franchise’s fortunes.
Griffin said he immediately is shifting the Cavaliers from “asset accumulation mode” into “targeted acquisition mode” as the team is expected to have $26 million in salary-cap space this off-season.
Specifically, Griffin said the Cavaliers need to be bigger, have players with a higher basketball IQ, better shooters, and tougher players.
Griffin also offered his support to the often disjointed backcourt pairing of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, saying “I’ve seen flashes of them being very, very good together. … They’re two ball-dominant, drive-and-kick players. They require spacing and shooters. It’s too easy to look at them and blame one of them. It’s a collective thing.”
There are problems in Cleveland that go beyond player personnel.
Mike Brown is not a great head coach, but the Cavs are stuck with him because he signed a five-year contract worth $20 million last summer. And not only that, it’s his second tour of duty with the team — a complication that makes firing him this early into such a large financial commitment essentially impossible.
There’s also the media frenzy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his alleged desire to leave town as soon as he is able, along with his reported battles with Dion Waiters over big man on campus status with the franchise.
Plenty of things need to be worked out in Cleveland before talent fixes the issues there — something that was proven once Luol Deng came to town and got a look at the team’s inner workings.