If you think Hawks general manager Rick Sund is facing a challenging offseason, take a look at Chris Grant.
Grant, who once worked in the Hawks' front office, is the new Cleveland Cavaliers general manager after Danny Ferry abruptly resigned Friday. Now all Grant has to do is help shape the most important offseason in the franchise's history.
The Cavaliers still need a coach after they fired Mike Brown following the season -- and that's the easy part. Cleveland also is trying to lure back league MVP LeBron James, who is set to become a free agent in July.
Grant will seek to complete both tasks as Cleveland's organization looks to be in turmoil. In announcing his resignation Ferry cited differences with owner Dan Gilbert, with both parties deciding not to renew his contract.
"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."
Grant worked under Pete Babcock and Billy Knight with the Hawks. He was in negotiations to become Hawks general manager in 2008 before ultimately deciding to remain with Cleveland.
After Miami guard Dwyane Wade suggested he would meet with James and Johnson to discuss their free-agent strategy, Wade's agent tried to downplay the gathering. Now commissioner David Stern is doing the same.
At a Los Angeles news conference during the Finals, Stern said the players told him there wouldn't be a “summit.”
“I think they have a meeting every year around our draft,” Stern said. “I've been assured at the highest level that there is no summit. But I would expect our players to talk to one another, and we don't have any problem with that.
“If some kind of tampering is implicated, I will have a ... different view, but we're not expecting that.”
On that topic, Stern was asked for some clarity on what constitutes tampering. The league has fined Dallas owner Mark Cuban, Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon and Suns general manager Steve Kerr for comments about James, who technically still is under contract with Cleveland.
“You really don't want to be a complete spoilsport, but you work hard and you say, ‘OK, this crosses the line,' and you fine somebody,” he said. “It's no fun, and it's not necessarily a productive use of our time. But our teams who have these players under contract are easily offended, and appropriately offended when inappropriate statements are made about players already under contract.”
Miami on his mind
While James, Wade and Johnson have all at one time or another expressed a desire to re-sign with their teams, Utah's Carlos Boozer has made no secret that he wouldn't mind landing in Miami.
Boozer and his wife live in South Florida and he has ties with the Heat organization. He speaks regularly with Nick Arison, the Heat's vice president of basketball operations and son of team owner Micky. Nick was a Duke team manager when Boozer played there.
Boozer said he also is close with Wade and friendly with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who speaks at the basketball camps Boozer holds in South Florida.
Though Heat president Pat Riley has inquired about Boozer in the past, Miami appears to be focused more on Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh in free agency.
“There's going to be a lot of stuff going on,” Boozer said. “It's hard to predict right now.”
Information from wire services and NBA beat writers was used in this report.
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