Former Vikings’ basketball player takes over as Cavs’ GM
June 4, 2010
CLEVELAND – Chris Grant’s job description and responsibilities changed significantly on Friday morning.
The former South Tahoe High basketball player became the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager on Friday and took over the obligation of trying to convince LeBron James, the biggest-name free agent in the NBA, to return to the franchise.
Danny Ferry resigned his general manager post, a surprise decision that complicates the most important offseason in team history.
Grant joined the Cavaliers as assistant general manager on July 9, 2005. As assistant general manager/vice president of basketball operations, Grant worked closely with Ferry on all basketball operations and front office elements, including the draft, trades, free agency and player contracts, as well as overseeing the domestic and international scouting programs. Grant also spearheaded the design and construction of the Cavaliers’ state-of-the-art player development center, Cleveland Clinic Courts, which opened at the start of the 2007 season.
Grant was unavailable for comment on Friday.
Prior to joining the Cavaliers, Grant spent the previous nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks where he was promoted in 2004 to the position of vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. In his nine years with the Hawks, Grant held several different positions, including advance scout, assistant director of scouting, director of scouting and vice president/assistant general manager.
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After concluding his prep playing career at South Tahoe under then-coach Tom Orlich, Grant went on to play for Canada Junior College before concluding his career as the starting center for the San Diego Toreros.
Ferry’s departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team’s second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP James, who will be a free agent next month.
Ferry was in the final month of his contract. He said the decision not to renew his contract was a mutual one with owner Dan Gilbert.
“I thought it was important that there was as much clarity as possible in the organization at this time, so things could start moving forward,” Ferry said. “I appreciate all that Dan has done to build a world-class organization.”
Ferry led the Cavs through the most successful period in their history. But despite winning 127 regular-season games and having the league’s best record the past two seasons, the Cavaliers failed to make the finals. Ferry said the club’s strategy to re-sign James will not be affected by his departure, and that Grant is ready to assume GM duties.
“Chris is prepared to do a great job,” Ferry said. “This will be a natural transition for him. He’s done everything that a GM does at every level.”
Grant almost left the Cavs two years ago to take the GM job in Atlanta. Gilbert said Grant served in a partnership with Ferry the past few seasons and is equipped to lead the Cavaliers through “a very unique and unprecedented situation.”