CLEVELAND (AP)—Danny Ferry didn’t agree with the decision to fire Cleveland’s coach. He knew re-signing superstar free agent LeBron James(notes) would be difficult. He felt his authority as general manager was being reduced by an owner with a different vision.
The Cavaliers are changing.
Ferry decided to let them—without him.
He resigned as Cleveland’s general manager after five seasons on Friday, a stunning development for a team seemingly in turmoil during the most important offseason in team history, the Summer of LeBron.
Ferry’s departure came two weeks after owner Dan Gilbert fired coach Mike Brown following the Cavs’ disappointing second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also came as the team is making plans to try and bring back James, the two-time MVP and biggest name in a free-agent class like none before.
Ferry, whose contract was set to expire June 30, decided to leave after talks with Gilbert revealed they had differing ideas on the Cavs’ direction.
“It’s the right time to move on,” Ferry said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
But the timing and suddenness of Ferry’s departure—as well as Brown’s dismissal despite winning 143 games the past two seasons—seem to point to a franchise in disarray.
Gilbert, however, claims the Cavaliers are as strong as ever and said the loss of Brown and Ferry won’t derail his goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland, which hasn’t celebrated a pro sports title in 46 years.
“You’ve got to be willing to take some risks, calculated ones, and make changes when they’re necessary,” Gilbert said.
Ferry said the decision not to renew his contract was a mutual one with Gilbert.
“I thought it was important that there was as much clarity as possible in the organization at this time, so things could start moving forward,” Ferry said. “It’s important that whomever is hired as the head coach knows and understands the people he is going to work with.”
Assistant GM Chris Grant will take over for Ferry, who played in Cleveland for 10 years and became the club’s GM in 2005, shortly after Gilbert hired Brown.
This was a surprise. Thought he'd stick around, but looks like him and the owner couldnt see eye to eye.