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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ferry quits as Cavs GM

CLEVELAND (AP) Danny Ferry resigned as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a surprise decision that complicates the most important off-season in team history.

News photo
Moving on: Cleveland Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry (left), seen here with team owner Dan Gilbert in 2005, resigned on Friday. AP PHOTO

Ferry's departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP LeBron James, who will be a free agent next month.

Ferry was in the final month of his contract. He said the decision not to renew his contract was a mutual one with owner Dan 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 then whomever is hired as the head coach knows, feels 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.

Ferry did not give any specifics about the reasons behind him leaving. It was assumed he would remain with Cleveland, an organization now undergoing a massive overhaul just as James is set to enter the free-agent market.

Gilbert will address Ferry's parting later in a conference call.

Cleveland's decision to fire Brown, with whom Ferry worked in San Antonio, may have created a divide between the GM and Gilbert. Ferry, though, said there were no hard feelings with Gilbert, who hired him as Cleveland's eighth GM on June 27, 2005.

"It is the right time to move on," Ferry said. "Chris is prepared to do a great job. This will be a natural transition for him. He's done everything that a GM does at every level."

Ferry led the Cavs through the most successful period in their history, peaking with the club's first Finals appearance in 2007.

But despite winning 127 regular-season games and having the league's best record the past two seasons, the Cavaliers fell short of a title, losing to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals last season and to the Celtics last month. And now, they're on the verge of possibly losing James.

The club went 272-138 during Ferry's five seasons.

Ferry said the club's strategy to re-sign James will not be affected by his departure.

Grant almost left the Cavs two years ago to take the GM job in Atlanta, where he spent nine seasons working in a variety of roles with the Hawks.

Brown back at work

CHARLOTTE , N.C. (AP) Larry Brown was energetic, shouting instructions and stopping play continuously to correct mistakes.

Everything appeared to be normal at the Charlotte Bobcats practice facility on Friday morning — until the pre-draft workout ended and the usually talkative Brown went silent.

Given a chance to clear up whether he'll return for a third season coaching the Bobcats, Brown declined to talk to reporters.

"I don't have anything to say," a smiling Brown said before disappearing down a stairway toward the locker room.

And with that, owner Michael Jordan's uncertain offseason continued.

There are numerous signs that the 69-year-old Brown, who has lamented the time spent away from his family in suburban Philadelphia, will be back in Charlotte after leading the Bobcats to their first playoff berth.

A person with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday that Brown, who has two years left on his contract, is leaning toward returning. Assistant coach Dave Hanners said Friday that Brown was energized and drawing up plays this week at the team offices.

Brown has said he won't coach for anyone other than Jordan, and on April 30 said he didn't want this "to drag on" too deep into the off-season.

Five weeks later, it still is.

Brown, a Hall of Famer and the only coach to win NBA and NCAA titles, has a track record of quick exits.

Charlotte is his 13th pro and college job, so despite his insistence that he won't coach anywhere else, his name has been mentioned for numerous openings around the league.

Chicago, Cleveland, New Jersey, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans are all without coaches.



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