If we are to accept the basic premise that everything in this offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers revolves around LeBron James and his future, then the future of Danny Ferry as GM of the Cavaliers could put the franchise in a tough spot.
In case you’re not aware, Danny Ferry is about to become a free agent. Just as LeBron becomes a free agent officially on July 1st, so too does Ferry. And for all the talk about whether or not Ferry will be back as GM, the general tone has been one of this being a decision on Dan Gilbert’s part.
The reality of this issue is that the decision is actually Danny Ferry’s. At least, primarily it is. Sure, Gilbert would have to want him back, but why wouldn’t he? By all accounts and indications, the 2 men who oversee our beloved franchise get along well professionally and Gilbert prides himself on finding and hiring excellent employees in all walks of life. Well, Ferry has done an excellent job based on what was given to him and the circumstances surrounding LeBron’s ability to more or less handcuff the team from making key additions via free agency. Furthermore, with the franchise already facing the potential of massive instability and changes all over the place, it would be nice to maintain at least one instance of calm and stability.
So if Gilbert is likely to want to have Ferry back, that means it will then be up to Danny to decide for himself if he is up for the challenge. As with the coaching scenario, the LeBron cloud has a chance to make the situation a little more foggy than it might otherwise be. We know that it’s going to be tough to hire a coach when said coach won’t know whether or not he will have LeBron to coach. Well, the same principle applies to the GM position.
Ferry’s decision on whether or not to come back could be tied to LeBron’s decision. It could possibly make Ferry’s life easier to keep building around LeBron (although, to be honest, I could make a pretty compelling argument that LeBron has made life tough on Ferry), and Ferry may not feel like being the man in charge of blowing everything up and starting over from scratch if LeBron leaves.
Where things could get a little awkward or dicey, though, is when you consider that Ferry and LeBron will be free agents at the same time. If Ferry is a free agent on July 1st and not the active GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers, then who is talking to LeBron during that time? Presumably Assistant GM Chris Grant would be the one giving negotiating pitches along with Dan Gilbert. In this scenario, what happens if LeBron re-signs then? Then Danny Ferry comes back and is once again the boss of the man who negotiated LeBron’s extension?
This scenario is highly unlikely and probably will play out quite differently. For one thing, there isn’t much negotiation needed. The Cavaliers will make a pitch, led by Dan Gilbert, laying out why they want LeBron back and how they plan to provide him with a Championship winning roster, and then they will offer a max contract. That number is set in stone, so whoever is technically the GM at that time won’t be in any danger of not offering a proper amount.
Above all else, though, I think Danny Ferry is different from most people and I don’t believe he will tie his decision solely to LeBron. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a decision one way or the other before July 1st even gets here. Ferry knows that as long as Dan Gilbert is his boss, he will have both the commitment and financial resources to do what is necessary to help this franchise try to win. Not very many GMs have that luxury and it makes Ferry’s position a somewhat enviable one. I assume Ferry knows this and I fully expect Ferry to be the man who is leading this franchise for years to come regardless of what LeBron James does, and between Gilbert and Ferry, I feel there’s a lot of comfort to be found in that partnership.