It wasn’t exactly an unveiling at the Cleveland Clinic Courts. Everyone in the room already knows Chris Grant – mostly as the sharp, funny, hard-working guy behind the guy. But on Tuesday, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert turned the keys over to Grant as Danny Ferry’s successor.
The two biggest decisions – possibly in franchise history – are still on the horizon for Grant, Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization. And despite the rampant rumor mill, there hasn’t been a decision on any front.
If Dan Gilbert had an optimistic tone at the season-ending press conference three weeks ago, he showed his serious side on Tuesday when pressed about LeBron James and the aforementioned rumor mill.
“He is a basketball player, and a great one,” stressed the Cavaliers owner. “And his interests are aligned with ours. But this concept that this franchise has been handed to a player who is running it and making the decisions is just completely and totally false. He’ll tell you that and Chris will tell you that. I’ll tell you that. The truth is the truth.”
Chris Grant, who Gilbert praised as an “innovative thinker,” spent ten years in the Hawks front office before arriving with Ferry five years ago. Along with the collected Cleveland media, Grant’s family – wife, Kelly, and sons Cameron, Boden and newborn Hudson – was on hand at the Cavaliers practice facility.
The quick-witted – but noticeably nervous Grant – knew that he was dealing with a media that’s hungry for information. But he urged patience in with the big decisions ahead. (Some the Cavaliers can control and some they can’t.)
As far as the head coaching spot, Grant insisted that the Cavaliers are “a very good team and we want to push that team to the next level.”
He continued: “As we go through and look at things, I want to find the guy. I want to find the right fit. That could be in a week. That could be in a month-and-a-half. But we’re going to make the decision on who the right person is and what the right fit is for our team.”
Of course, the Cavs owner, a Michigan State grad, has been linked to his alma mater’s coach. And like the rest of the rumors, Gilbert fended off a couple Detroit writers in attendance that a decision had been made.
The founder of Quicken Loans stated that “finding a head coach in the NBA is probably the most significant and important decision this franchise could make – that any franchise could make.”
“Going forward, it’s about finding the right fit for our culture, and finding the right guy,” said the new Cavaliers GM. “So, right now, we’re open to anything.”
Grant continued: “Whether you have a free agent, whether you don’t have a free agent – hiring the head coach is always the most important hire. Because that’s the toughest job in the organization.”
The University of San Diego alum now takes the helm of a team in almost total transition. The summer’s seismic events have yet to unfold for the Wine and Gold – and Grant will be at the eye of the storm for all of them.
The sting of the Second Round ouster is starting to fade and the future is all that matters now. On Tuesday, we saw the first step.