Theory: There were seventh-century Gallic fiefdoms more stable than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs fired Mike Brown for the second time in four years on Monday, cleaving open once again a head-coaching position that has proven the bane of whoever’s held it since the halcyon days of Lenny Wilkins and Mike Fratello.
Via USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, here’s what Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had to say in a press release earlier Tuesday:
This is a very tough business 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.
According to a source cited by Zillgitt who wished to remain anonymous, one candidate in particular has emerged as a serious contender: Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin.
In a recent post at TrueHoop, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz described Griffin, by way of an insider source, as “a player-friendly Tom Thibodeau,” which we can only assume means Griffin occasionally let the Bulls run their 1,000 daily wind sprints with anvils strapped to their backs instead of 1987 Buick LeSabres.
The task of finding a replacement for Brown falls to David Griffin (unrelated), Cleveland’s interim general manager and a one-time rising-star executive with the Phoenix Suns.
As Zillgitt notes, Griffin’s relationship with the Suns could point to both Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry receiving significant consideration for the position.
With the future of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and the rest of Cleveland’s young core up in the air, David Griffin’s decision promises to have enormous implications for the moribund franchise.
As Bleacher Report’s Ben Lebowitz noted back in April, Irving in particular poses the biggest possible conundrum for the Cavs:
[Irving] is an All-Star and an incredibly gifted offensive talent—with arguably the best handles in the game. However, he’s also a poor defensive player, and the Cavaliers are now 78-152 since he entered the NBA in 2011-12.
Can he be the No. 1 option and alpha dog on a championship team? That remains to be seen due to a variety of factors—including injury woes and a lackluster supporting cast. Nevertheless, Cleveland needs to figure out what to do with the former first overall pick during the 2014 offseason.
Perhaps Adrian Griffin—having cut his teeth under one of the league’s best—is just the right guy to handle a young core of Cleveland’s caliber.
Then again, maybe David Griffin opts for experience over upside and lands someone such as D’Antoni, Lionel Hollins or Stan Van Gundy.
Whoever the Cavs tap as their next skipper, he’ll be inheriting one of the most challenging projects in the NBA—not to mention a seat so perpetually hot it doubles as Quicken Loans Arena’s nacho-cheese machine.