The Cleveland Cavaliers did the right thing on Thursday when they fired general manager Chris Grant. They also did the right thing by naming David Griffin as the acting general manager. But there's no guarantee that Griffin will keep that job after this season.
So who will Dan Gilbert hire as the new general manager if he doesn't keep David Griffin? Ken Berger from CBS Sports offered some potential replacements in a recent article.
Berger throws around a number of names that might be good for the Cavs. He suggests Chris Wallace, the former GM of the Memphis Grizzlies because he has some experience building a strong team in a small market. I'd tend to not want Wallace just because I don't think the Grizzlies approach was particularly repeatable. I'm not sure how much he had to do with the total team construction currently, but the constant lack of perimeter shooting bothers me.
He also mentions some bigger names that seem pretty unlikely.
Since Gilbert likes big names, you can expect Phil Jackson to enter the equation, although the Zen Master said no to Cleveland's coaching job last summer. Pacers executive Donnie Walsh has a long history of small-market success and also executed a quick rebuild during his short time with the Knicks. The Cavs already have done some background checking on a current member of the Knicks' front office, director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, league sources told CBSSports.com.
I know virtually nothing about Mark Hughes, but I won't discount him just because he's from the Knicks. That organization is a mess for a number of different reasons. They're stuck with all sorts of problems due to Carmelo Anthony and CAA, so don't necessarily knock Hughes as a possibility just because he works for the Knicks.
Berger suggests Jeff Weltman, the man who almost got the Phoenix Suns job as well. He currently works for the Raptors who have turned things around lately. David Morway worked for the Pacers for a while and now works with the Bucks. Gary Sacks is currently the GM of the Clippers, but Doc Rivers took most of that power when he was brought to Los Angeles. He could be an interesting option too, according to the article. These are some lesser-known names that I don't know a ton about, but I trust Berger when he says that they are very well-respected in the industry.
Finally, Berger brings up a guy that will probably be appealing to most Cavs fans --Michael Winger. Who? Winger is an executive in the Oklahoma City Thunder's front office and has spent a good deal of time learning from Sam Presti. The Thunder obviously are the premier franchise in a small market right now, so why not steal one of their top executives to run the Cavaliers?
The most interesting name? If Gilbert wants to think outside the box and pluck a member of a successful NBA family tree, he should look no further than Michael Winger, the No. 3 executive in the Oklahoma City front office. Winger is a rising star who has been groomed by Thunder GM Sam Presti, whose long-term approach to sustainable success in a small market should be the blueprint for a team like Cleveland. Winger also worked for the Cavs from 2005-10 and had a good relationship with Gilbert.
Some people have thrown around Steve Kerr as a potential candidate for the Cavs' GM job. I'm not sure if Kerr has any interest in leaving TNT. Most guys that get into television don't tend to leave those jobs because they're pretty awesome, but it's possible. Kerr worked with David Griffin in Phoenix, so it may be possible to have both of them work together on this rebuild in Cleveland.
Alex Kennedy from BasketballInsiders.com threw out another kind of random name: Kenny Smith.
I'm hearing that Kenny Smith may be a candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers' general manager job. David Griffin is the interim GM.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 7, 2014
I have no idea if this makes any sense, but whatever. It's a name.
Keep in mind, Kenny Smith had discussions with the Kings about their vacant GM job over the summer. I'm hearing Cavaliers are interested.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 7, 2014
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