Heading back to Cleveland: Danny Ferry accepts GM job
The San Antonio front office official played 10 seasons in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Danny Ferry has left the front office of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to become general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, two league sources said Sunday night.
Ferry, who played 10 seasons with the Cavaliers, accepted the job on Sunday, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Ferry's hiring is expected to be announced today -- one day before the NBA draft.
The Cavaliers currently don't have a selection but have reportedly discussed trading forward Jiri Welsch for a second-round pick. That deal could be easier to make now that the Cavs have found a replacement for Jim Paxson, who was fired the day after the season ended.
Club record for games
Ferry spent the last two years as San Antonio's director of basketball operations under GM R.C. Buford. The 38-year-old Ferry played in a club record 723 games for the Cavaliers from 1990-2000.
He played the final three years of his career with San Antonio, where he worked with Cleveland coach Mike Brown, then an assistant with the Spurs.
Ferry's return will make some Cleveland fans cringe.
An All-American at Duke, Ferry was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in 1989 by the Los Angeles Clippers. But he held out in a contract dispute and played one season in Italy before the Cavaliers acquired his rights in a trade.
The club dealt rising star Ron Harper for Ferry and waited an entire season until he finished his contract in Italy. Cleveland then signed Ferry to a 10-year, $34 million contract, a decision that made it tough for them to sign other players.
Ferry may have never lived up to being "the next Larry Bird" as some had predicted, but he was a solid player, averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 913 career games.
In Cleveland, Ferry will have some immediate challenges as he tries to rebuild the Cavs, who faded down the stretch last season.
The club will have roughly $25 million to spend in the free-agency period, which begins on July 1. The Cavaliers also have to decide whether to re-sign All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who made $14.6 million last season. Ferry and Ilgauskas are former teammates and have remained close friends.
Ferry's top priority in Cleveland will be building a team around All-Star forward LeBron James.
On Friday, James said he would like to have input into which players are signed by the Cavaliers. He mentioned guards Michael Redd, Ray Allen and Larry Hughes and center Eddy Curry as players he would like to see in Cleveland.
Ferry is following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who played 10 seasons in the NBA and was general manager of the Washington Bullets from 1973-90.
Now that the Cavaliers have their new coach and GM, it's still unclear how their front office will be structured. Cleveland has had preliminary talks with Detroit coach Larry Brown about becoming the club's president of basketball operations.
The 64-year-old Brown said before Game 7 of the NBA Finals that he will check into the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday. He'll be in the hospital to address a medical problem that developed from complications following hip surgery in November and hasn't improved.
Brown has said if doctors say he is healthy enough to coach that he wants to be with the Pistons next season.