The message was officially delivered. The Cleveland Cavaliers are done “acquiring assets.” Just days after the franchise wrapped up a 33-49 season, one that left them just short of their goal of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, acting General Manager David Griffin sat in front of the local media and ensured them that, after years of rhetoric revolving around assets and banter that treated players as if they were poker chips, the team is shifting into “targeted acquisition mode.”
Expected to have $26 million in salary-cap space this off-season, Griffin pulled no punches when it came to addressing the Cavaliers’ current weaknesses. He referred to several instances over the course of the 2013-14 season where his team was “selfish” and did not trust one another. Specific to the roster, Griffin stated that the Cavs need to—are you ready for this?—get bigger, get smarter (have players with a higher basketball IQ), shoot better, and be tougher.
Though the team is also armed with the ninth-overall pick (assuming the lottery plays out as it stands), Griffin said that the Cavs will no longer look to get lucky in the draft. Though they have plenty of areas for improvement, he repeatedly said that the team’s success will hinge upon how players fit within the confines of the current core. “There is nothing that can be done to an NBA roster that we are not capable of doing,” Griffin said of the flexibility he is afforded.
The overarching question will be who, whether it is Griffin or an appointed General Manager, will be making these impending decisions as the team continues on. Griffin is currently operating as “Acting” General Manger, stepping in for Chris Grant who was fired earlier this season and though he hasn’t gotten official word from Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert, Griffin spoke confidently, stating that he is on the same page with those making the decisions.
“I feel no great sense of wonder,” Griffin said of his current title and suspiciously quiet owner. “I feel very confident ownership and myself will be moving in the same direction. But I also don’t need to hear from them to know that I need to get better.
“I’m not going to campaign. I’m not running for mayor. Our results are totally unacceptable. I understand what we need to do to get better. And if Dan and his ownership group are of that mindset, we’re going to get better together.”