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Cleveland Cavaliers: Why Chris Grant Is Doing a Fantastic Job as Team's GM

Photo Credit: AP
Photo Credit: AP
Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterAugust 12, 2012

Chris Grant is a giant of a man.

At 6'10", the former University of San Diego basketball player is actually taller than most of the players he scouts, signs, drafts or trades for.

Grant was named general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 4th, 2010 after the resignation of Danny Ferry.  Hired by Ferry in 2005, Grant had previously spent the past 10 years working in the front office for the Atlanta Hawks and even turned down their offer to be team GM in 2008 while working with the Cavs.

While some will point to the Cavs poor performance and lack of big-name signings the past two years as evidence to Grant doing a poor job, this is just simply not true.

To start off, Grant was the mastermind behind the Anderson Varejao contract that many thought was too much money when he first signed.  Years later, Varejao is thought to be one of the best bargains in the entire NBA, as he's a world-class post defender and rebounder who is being paid less than half of what some other players at his position are making.

While Ferry worked to appease LeBron James by loading the Cavs with cap-killing contracts, Grant has done just the opposite.

Here are some other highlights of his tenure with the Cavs thus far:

-Thanks to Grant, the Cavs could very well have the most cap space of any NBA team heading into the 2012-2013 season.

-The Cavs are also loaded with draft picks and could possibly have six picks, including three first rounders, in next years draft.

-Traded Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair for Ramon Sessions, Ryan Hollins and 2013 second-round draft pick.  Sessions was Cavs best player in 2010-2011, and was later flipped for a first-round pick in 2012.

-Traded J.J. Hickson to Sacramento Kings for Omri Casspi and future first-round pick.  Hickson was eventually cut by the Kings, while the Cavs still hold rights to Casspi and pick.

-Surprised many by taking Tristan Thompson fourth overall in 2011.  Thompson is already arguably the best post defender of the draft class and was called Cavs hardest working player this offseason by head coach Byron Scott.

-Instead of losing LeBron James for nothing, orchestrated a sign-and-trade netting the Cavaliers two first-round and two second-round draft picks.

-Despite only playing two games for the Cavaliers, successfully traded D.J. Kennedy to Memphis Grizzlies for Jeremy Pargo and a 2014 second-round draft pick, their third pick in that round.

-Scouted and signed undrafted free agents and D-Leaguers Samardo Samuels and Alonzo Gee.

-Used additional picks acquired through trades to move back up in 2012 draft to select C Tyler Zeller, the most polished big man in the draft.

-Signed athletic swingman C.J. Miles for only $2 million per year for two years.  Miles is a candidate for the starting small forward position.

Some people even forget the biggest move Grant made, the one that single-handedly saved the franchise.

Trading Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and an unprotected first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Clippers has turned out to be one of the biggest steals in recent NBA history.

Neither Williams or Moon is still with L.A., while the Cavaliers had the good fortune of having the unprotected pick turn into NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.  They also used the amnesty clause on Baron Davis, so their salary cap space was preserved anyway.

Kyrie Irving is already one of the games best point guards and has given the franchise hope for the future.  Surrounding Irving is a plethora of young talent in Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson, Alonzo Gee and others.  The Cavaliers also hold the most cap space of any team and an army of draft picks in the near future.  They have both the option and assets to build for the future with their core or pull off a major trade or two, much like the Boston Celtics did in 2007.

This is all thanks to Grant, who has done a fantastic job ever since taking over a mere two years ago.

While he may be a giant of a man, his work rebuilding the Cavaliers has been even bigger.

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