INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers made a big change with another season falling apart, firing general manager Chris Grant on Thursday.
Grant was fired a day after the Cavs dropped their sixth straight game, an embarrassing home loss to a Los Angeles Lakers team that started with eight players and finished with five. Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin will serve as acting general manager.
Owner Dan Gilbert made it clear he's unhappy with what has transpired in a season that began with hopes the Cavs would make the playoffs after a three-year absence.
"This has been a very difficult period for the franchise," Gilbert said in a statement. "We have severely underperformed against expectations. Just as this is completely unacceptable to our loyal and passionate fan base, season ticket holders and corporate partners, it is also just as unacceptable to our ownership group."
Gilbert also met with reporters at the team's training facility following the announcement. He expressed confidence that the Cavs can show improvement under coach Mike Brown over the final 33 games. Grant was instrumental in the rehiring of Brown, who was fired during his first stint with the team in 2010.
Gilbert was asked if Brown's job was safe for the rest of this season.
"We're going to see Mike Brown succeed this year because I think that he'll be able to do good things and I think this team will be able to do good things," Gilbert said. "I think they're going to look at each other and they're going to look in the mirror and they're going to rally."
Gilbert also was asked why he decided to change his general manager but not his coach.
"Coach Brown has only been here over half a season," he said. "Chris Grant has been here 8½ years. He's been the general manager almost four years. There's a lot of talent on this team. I think everybody knows that."
Gilbert promised last spring the Cavs would not return to the NBA lottery, but Cleveland is 16-33 and has dropped six in a row — matching its longest losing streak of the season. The Cavs are 5½ games out of the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference and their only win in the last nine games came over Milwaukee, which has the league's worst record.