Another take on Danny Ferry’s departure

Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! Sports is no fan of LeBron James. He has made that clear with some scathing articles on LeBron and his posse over the past several weeks. His criticisms are often legitimate, as LeBron has shown that he’s a spoiled egomaniac who crumbled under the pressure this year in the playoffs.

That said, LeBron is one of the most significant talents in NBA history. Whether he achieves the highest levels of greatness remains to be seen, but we all know the NBA is built around star players, and LeBron still has the potential to grow up and become one of the greats.

With that in mind, here’s Adrian’s take on the Danny Ferry situation.

What’s been lost for the Cavaliers is the strong, steady leadership they had with Ferry and coach Mike Brown. Gilbert was honest with Ferry: He wanted to take back control and involve himself with everything again. Before Ferry was hired as GM, it wasn’t uncommon for Gilbert to pass notes to the bench for substitutions he wanted Paul Silas to make. Ferry had come out of San Antonio, and believed an orderly structure made for successful, winning organizations.

“LeBron never had to come out and say that he wanted Brown and Ferry gone,” one front-office executive familiar with the Cavs’ dynamic said. “But the anti-Brown and anti-Ferry sentiment from LeBron’s crowd was loud and clear to Dan Gilbert. He knew where LeBron stood.”

Ferry convinced Gilbert to step back, let him do his job. But more and more, the owner’s impulsive need to inject himself into everything took over the franchise. Most of all, Gilbert had become the biggest enabler of LeBron James and his inner circle, and that only promises to get worse. Ferry never loved the players’ pregame skits, the hiring of James’ buddies, the associates’ riding on the team plane, but Gilbert seldom said no to anything. He behaved like the permissive parent who believed his kid would love him more if he spoiled him rotten. And it got the Cavs a superstar, James, who never respected anyone and a cast of associates who had the run of the place. Had James wanted Ferry to still be the GM, Gilbert would’ve backed down and Ferry would have a new contract.

“Danny’s been miserable for the past two years,” a friend of his told Yahoo! Sports. “Even if they kept LeBron, do you still lose for winning there anyway?”

Ferry fought to retain Brown, but Gilbert, a staunch Michigan State man, is determined to hire away Tom Izzo. Unless James tells him he wants John Calipari, and then they’ll hire John Calipari. As much as anything, the Cavaliers are giving the franchise completely over to James and his inner circle now. Whatever he wants to stay, he’ll get. Now, Ferry isn’t there to play the wet blanket anymore. He never feared fighting Gilbert on issues because he had stature, money and, truth be told, he didn’t need the job.

I think he’s being too tough on Dan Gilbert. Has Gilbert enabled LeBron, his ego and his posse? Of course he has, but you have little choice in the NBA to do that with a star of LeBron’s caliber. Ferry may not have liked it, but the San Antonio model is tough to replicate entirely – they have a superstar who doesn’t have much of an ego. That’s very rare.

What Adrian doesn’t address is that Mike Brown was LeBron’s biggest enabler. Sure, he turned LeBron into a defensive player, but he had little control over LeBron during the games. He never disciplined LeBron for taking idiotic 3-pointers at critical points in the game without setting up the offense. LeBron ran the show, so the decision to get a new coach is one of the few things Gilbert could do to possibly control LeBron. Also, Brown’s performance in the playoffs was terrible this year. If Ferry was going to side with Brown, I don’t blame Gilbert for moving on.

Also, an owner who invests this much money has to have a team approach to the roster. He is putting up millions to get over the hump, and a GM needs to be on board with that. Ferry’s notion of total control make little sense in a setting where Gilbert is paying huge amounts in luxury tax money.

In the end, Gilbert is doing the right thing in trying to keep LeBron. Brown and Ferry are dispensable.

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Are the Cavs shopping Mo Williams?

Photo from fOTOGLIF

We all know that Delonte West won’t be back in Cleveland next season. Putting aside the off-court rumors, Delonte was inconsistent last season and his contract makes him a very valuable commodity to teams looking to dump salary, given the $500,000 buyout clause.

The real issue involves Mo Williams. Brian Windhorst is reporting that the Cavs are exploring Mo’s trade value and are open to trading him.

That shouldn’t be a surprise givens Mo’s struggles on defense and in the playoffs. Naturally, it’s hard to figure out where the Cavs are heading without word on LeBron’s decision, but it seems clear that Dan Gilbert and new GM Chris Grant are looking to shake things up. It’s going to be an interesting summer.

UPDATE: Bob Finnan has some interesting tidbits on possible moves.

If the Cavs decide to trade Mo Williams, one possible destination could be Toronto in exchange for Jose Calderon. Williams is a more dynamic scorer and Calderon is more of a distributor. Both are great free-throw shooters, but neither player is a good defender.

Their contracts are similar in amount and length. The Raptors would like to move Calderon and swingman Hedo Turkoglu.

I wonder if the Cavs would be interested in Hedo Turkoglu? He’s another scorer and ball-handler who could compliment LeBron.

Danny Ferry resigns as Cavs GM

Photo from fOTOGLIF

The photo above shows Danny Ferry in happier times, joking around with Shaquille O’Neal as he is introduced to the Cleveland media during a news conference at the Cavaliers’ practice facility last year.

The O’Neal experiment didn’t lead to a title, but I won’t say that Danny Ferry’s move didn’t work. The Cavs were favored to win it heading into the playoffs, and Ferry and O’Neal can’t be blamed for the LeBron James meltdown.

Unfortunately, things still didn’t work as planned, and Ferry surprisingly resigned today. I didn’t expect this, though when reading the article the reasons became a little more clear.

Ferry still wanted control of the roster, and he argued to keep Mike Brown. Dan Gilbert probably wanted a little more input, and he certainly didn’t want to keep Brown. In that respect he made the right move letting Ferry go. Ferry made some good moves, and he made some mistakes. But he put together a team that should have won it all.

I wasn’t aware of this, but the Cavs have an assistant GM in Chris Grant who is more than ready to step up and take Ferry’s place. At least there will be come continuity as the Cavs face the most important off-season in team history.

Braxton Miller, top-ranked quarterback recruit, picks Ohio State

The Buckeyes have landed another stud quarterback who should be ready to take the reins after Terrelle Pryor graduates.

Braxton Miller, ranked by every major recruiting service as the No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback in the Class of 2011, gave an oral commitment to Ohio State just after noon today during a press conference at his high school.

Miller, a 6-3, 195-pounder, made his announcement at Huber Heights Wayne High School in the Dayton suburbs. He is the 12th high school junior to give a pledge to Ohio State.

Miller is a quarterback in the same mold as the Buckeyes’ Terrelle Pryor, and he is the leading candidate to take over when Pryor’s time in Columbus ends. CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Miller would be best served by redshirting in 2011 in his first year with the Buckeyes and learning for a year while Pryor is a senior, assuming that Pryor returns for his last season at Ohio State.

The word on Miller is that he’s not quite as great an athlete as Pryor, but he has a better arm and he’s a much more natural passer. That should make Buckeye fans happy.

Montario Hardesty looks great so far . . .

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The impressions of Montario Hardesty have been very positive so far through the OTAs. Tony Grossi likes him and other writers seem to be impressed as well. I was thrilled when the Browns drafted this guy as I saw him play several times while he was a Tennessee and he looked like an NFL back. He has size and speed. He’s also saying all the right things.

Hardesty was a captain at Tennessee. The way he handled the responsibility appealed to everyone in the Browns draft room.

“When the Cleveland Browns came up to get me, I was excited,” Hardesty said. “This has been my dream since I was young. I really couldn’t wait to get here. I don’t want to let Mr. (Tom) Heckert or Coach (Mike) Holmgren or Coach Mangini down.”

Hardesty may have to share a little or a lot with fifth-year Brown Jerome Harrison. He laughs off being able to handle a small load, if that becomes his portion.

“I was in both situations at Tennessee,” he said. “Three carries … 25 carries. Either way, I want to maximize my opportunities.”

If the Browns get lucky, Hardesty will give them almost as strong an inside threat as Greene gives the Jets, and deliver a much bigger outside threat than Green can.

Hardesty has caught on quickly to what Mangini wants the offense to become, a “game-plan-specific” attack that changes every week. Both he and the team see him as having the potential to fit any plan.

The shifty little Harrison provides an outside threat, but Hardesty might, too, in a more threatening body.

“We were a zone-running team last year (at Tennessee),” Hardesty said. “That was our bread and butter.

If the Browns can keep making progress on the running game, it will help the passing game and the defense. I like this approach.

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