INDEPENDENCE — Mike Brown is out and David Griffin is in.
The Cavaliers fired Brown as head coach Monday after just one year of his second stint on the job. Brown, whose team went a disappointing 33-49 and failed to make the playoffs, signed a five-year, $20 million contract. The first four years were guaranteed.
Griffin had been the team’s acting general manager since the Feb. 6 firing of Chris Grant. The Cavs went 17-16 after he took over.
Griffin will hold a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The major topic will be Brown’s successor, with recently fired Golden State coach Mark Jackson likely to be one of the leading candidates for the job.
Whoever succeeds Brown, who previously coached the Cavs from 2005-10, will be the team’s third coach in three seasons. Byron Scott was fired in 2013 after three years on the job.
“This is a very tough business,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said in a press release issued by the team. “It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best.”
Said Griffin through the team press release: “Our ownership support provides the highest level of resources, flexibility and commitment to aggressively do whatever we believe needs to be done in order to win. There is no harder worker or better human being in our league than Mike. This was not an easy decision. We thank Mike for his efforts and wish him, his wife Carolyn and their family only the best.”
Griffin joined the Cavs as vice president of basketball operations in September 2010. Prior to that, he spent 17 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the last three as senior vice president of basketball operations.
The Cavs have not said whether they are looking to add another person to the front office, perhaps even to work over Griffin, but Gilbert said the organization “interviewed several strong candidates for the GM position, including Griff.”
“We chose Davis as our GM because we believe he is the best person to lead our franchise at this critical time and into the future,” Gilbert said. “David brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator.
“More importantly, he is a general manager who is aligned with our culture and philosophy, which is the foundation of how we do business. David is not only passionate about his own job, but also cares deeply about the success of everyone around him. His presence alone creates an infectious, positive environment with players, coaches, front office people and even our fan base.”
Griffin favors an up-tempo running game similar to the one used by the Suns when he was with Phoenix. That type of game also seems to suit players like Kyrie Irving, who can sign a contract extension this summer, and Dion Waiters. It was the approach Jackson used with Golden State as well.
“Our ownership’s commitment to this franchise and the fans of Cleveland is absolute,” Griffin said. “I feel that commitment not only by the resources they make available, but also with their tireless passion for delivering a championship-caliber team.
“Our entire organization reflects that passion and commitment. I am humbled and honored to be put in position to aggressively work with them, all of our front office staff and anyone who can contribute to achieving that vision.”