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Cavaliers GM says he’s shifting team into ‘targeted acquisition mode’

Apr 22, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

David Griffin David Griffin

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.

From Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

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.

  1. antistratfordian - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    So Mike Brown is “not a great head coach” now? He won Coach of the Year in 2009, where he had the 4th rated offense and the 3rd rated defense. Mike Brown won it then for the same reason Pop won it this year – he was coaching a legend.

    We’d be singing a completely different tune about Brown if he stayed with LeBron + a few more hall of famers his whole career.

    • jamesk2465 - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Only reason why they had the 3rd best offensive that season cause the Cavs insisted Mike brown get someone to run the offensive and that person was John Kuester. Mike browns a great defensive coach, but when it comes to managing personnel and offensive that remains to be seen

      • antistratfordian - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        Still had a top 6 offense without Kuester. I think it had more to do with a maturing LeBron. But that’s beside the point.

        It’s hard to win 60 games in back-to-back years regardless of who you’re coaching. Pop has never done it. Phil Jackson couldn’t even manage to do that in 11 years on the Lakers, even with all their talent.

      • jamesk2465 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        I don’t think Mike Browns a bad coach he just wasn’t the right coach for the Cavs. George Karl should be coaching this team

      • 2phatt2 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        Dude…who cares about practice season wins, the playoffs are where you make your legacy.

      • arrondior - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        ROFL Did someone just say GEORGE KARL! lol GIVE ME A BREAK. That guy has had fabulous teams and can’t seam to coach them past rd 1 of the play-offs. And why? This guy plays the post season almost entirely the same as the regular season. Sorry, you can’t just try to out score teams in the post season and have no defensive presence.You can’t run the same high pressure end game plays that you ran all season long. George Karl, when considering the talent he has had on SEVERAL of his teams should have been to multiple conference finals. Instead he was perennial 1st round loser.

      • arrondior - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Just to drive the point home about George Karl. In his teams last 10 playoff appearances, he made it past the 1st round once while finishing 1st (3 times) or 2nd in their division 9 out of 10 of those seasons.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      Ahhh “Witness” the power of having LeBron on your team. He’s even making Spolestra look like a “coaching legend”.

      • pfic15 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        Nah….I don’t think anybody is equating Spolestra to anything more than the beneficiary of a coach with 3 All Stars… 2 HOF’ers. Anybody who thinks its his fingerprint on that team is, how do they say, TRIPPIN.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        … and Tim Duncan is chopped liver?

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        the real question is:
        What coach will LBJ make look like a genius next season because he is bolting Miami.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        not saying spoelstra is a great coach…but there have been few coaches in history that didnt have at least one superstar to win…two biggest winning coaches auerbach and jackson’s teams were STACKED…minus like one year for phil

  2. therealhtj - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    If by targeted acquisition they mean lower rung free agents looking for a payday they’ll never get somewhere more desirable, then by all means, acquire those targets.

  3. riders008 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    The cavs will make moves this yr. of course they want Lebron …who doesn’t …this yr is different as they have a plan in place when Lebron does not show interest.

  4. zackd2 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    How did Mike Brown get the power to leverage 5yrs/20m guaranteed? Yeesh

    Let’s face it, Cavs are going to spend their 25m on overpriced role players. Just like they did with Varajao, Gibson, and the other players they signed during the Lebron years. They’re not a couple mid level FAs from being a championship level team.

    • muhangis - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:44 AM

      I think you hit it right on.

    • tv63 - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      Varejao (correct spelling) is not overpriced . LoL You really are Coo Coo for Coca Puffs Zack.

      • zackd2 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        8-9m a year for 8 pts and 8 rebounds a night? Not even getting into his injury- prone 3 years of 31, 25, 25 games. He’s a role player.

  5. lakerade - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    Keep your head up, Kyrie. Soon.

  6. campcouch - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    Hey,a daily Cavaliers story! More troll bait!

  7. 2phatt2 - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    The Cav’s should never, ever have a overall # 1 pick again.

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