Chris Grant Rumors
Waiters said the firing of Cavs General Manager Chris Grant the first week in February really affected him. “That’s a guy who took a chance on me, a young kid like myself coming from where I come from,” he said. “He made my dream come true. You never want to see (anybody) get fired. He’s got a family. You’ve got to feed your kids. What could we have done differently? Did it take him getting fired for us to start playing the way we did? You never know. I know I took it hard because if we’d have been taking care of business like we were supposed to the beginning of the season, he would still be here.”
Yes, James spent the ceremony sitting on the Cavs’ bench next to the general manager who was fired a month ago, while the Cavs players sat along the baseline after leaving the locker room and watched. You can’t make this stuff up. Grant and James laughed and chatted throughout the speeches, snapping pictures of Ilgauskas and his plaque, then took more pictures as his honorary jersey was raised for the first time.
The head coach easily has a more direct impact, but the front office certainly holds a role in that culture. A couple of players have told me they appreciate David Griffin’s approach. He is direct in his communication and bluntly honest, he makes it clear to them where they stand with the team. The players I’ve talked to said they appreciate that. Griffin is different in his approach than Chris Grant, because as Griffin said at his introductory news conference, he comes from a different lifetime set of experiences. I think both guys have different styles, but both can make good GMs.
Yahoo! Sports’ recent scathing article on Grant chastising him for “pitches on one-sided deals,” was perplexing since Grant successfully executed nine deals (excluding the LeBron James sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat) in 3½ years. He consummated trades with some of the most respected GMs in the league, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak and a former Executive of the Year winner in the Chicago Bulls’ Gar Forman. (Grant negotiated swap rights into the Sessions trade with the Lakers that enabled the Cavs to move up 11 spots in last summer’s draft and land Karasev, the young shooting guard the team remains high on).
No one in the Cavs’ front office was “preening” after landing Andrew Bynum last summer, as Yahoo reported. Conversely, I spoke to a team executive during free agency last summer who was indifferent on Bynum. His attitude and knee issues were well documented and had scared off most of the league. “If he comes, great,” the executive said. “If he doesn’t, I’m already over it.” After Bynum chose the Cavs, I called a different team executive to offer congratulations. “Eh, we’ll see,” was the response. “I don’t know if we’ve won anything or not.”
Agents and teams around the league have privately grumbled for years about dealing with Grant, but what’s far worse are agents and teams eager to deal with executives they know they can fleece. And nine trades in 3½ years shows he can close deals.