CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin acknowledged his team has had an adversity-filled season, but believes something positive can be salvaged in the final two months.
Griffin was promoted from vice president of basketball operations Thursday when Chris Grant, the general manager since 2010, was fired. The 44-year-old Griffin, who has spent 21 years in the NBA in various front-office capacities, addressed the media prior to Sunday’s game against Memphis.
The Cavaliers began the season with postseason expectations, but are 17-33 and sit 12th in the weak Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot. Cleveland, which broke a six-game losing streak by beating Washington on Friday night, has lost eight of its last 10.
“Certainly, it’s a great deal of adversity right now and from that, quite frankly, I think come the greatest opportunities,” said Griffin, who joined the franchise in 2010. “Sure, this isn’t an easy situation. I’d be lying if I said it was. I can promise you this, it’s one I’m very prepared for.”
Cleveland’s season has been rocky from the beginning. The Cavaliers have been under .500 since the fifth game of the season and the players have been slow to pick up coach Mike Brown’s system on both ends of the floor. Brown and Grant both questioned the players’ effort and there have been reports of locker room dissension.
“No one in this organization is comfortable with the place we find ourselves in, nor satisfied,” Griffin said. “Our focus moving forward is a heightened sense of urgency, obviously.”
Griffin admitted the losing and adversity have taken their toll.
“I want to see us smile more,” he said. “I want to see us enjoy this. I want to see us remember this is a game. I want to see us remember that there’s passion involved in this. We’re not robots. Nobody is flawless. We’ve all made mistakes. I want guys to accept making one and then move on.”
Despite the team’s record, Griffin doesn’t think the season is a lost cause as the Feb. 20 trade deadline approaches.
“I don’t see how you get better and win more games selling,” he said. “We’re going to buy to the extent that it makes us better for the long haul. I don’t think we’re going to do anything that’s an act of desperation. I think we’re going to be willing to buy the right asset at the right price. We are dedicated 100 percent from top to bottom to getting better and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Griffin was involved in scouting and player personnel areas prior to the promotion. He spent 17 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the last three as the senior vice president of basketball operations after being named to the position in 2007.