CLEVELAND — Danny Ferry didn't agree with the decision to fire Cleveland's coach. He knew re-signing superstar free agent LeBron James would be difficult. He felt his authority as general manager was being reduced by an owner with a different vision.
The Cavaliers are changing. Ferry decided to let them — without him.
He resigned as Cleveland's general manager after five seasons on Friday, a stunning development for a team seemingly in turmoil during the most important off-season in team history, the Summer of LeBron.
Ferry's departure came two weeks after owner Dan Gilbert fired Coach Mike Brown following the Cavs' disappointing second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also came as the team is making plans to try to bring back James, the two-time MVP and biggest name in a free-agent class like none before.
Ferry, whose contract was set to expire June 30, decided to leave after talks with Gilbert revealed they had differing ideas on the Cavs' direction.
"It's the right time to move on," Ferry said.
But the timing and suddenness of Ferry's departure — as well as Brown's dismissal — seem to point to a franchise in disarray.
Gilbert, however, said the loss of Brown and Ferry won't derail his goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland, which hasn't celebrated a pro sports title in 46 years.
"You've got to be willing to take some risks, calculated ones, and make changes when they're necessary," Gilbert said.
Assistant GM Chris Grant will take over for Ferry, who became the club's GM in 2005, shortly after Gilbert hired Brown.
Gilbert said the organization has been in touch with James and he remains confident the Cavaliers can re-sign the superstar, who has spent seven seasons with Cleveland.
"We feel good about it," Gilbert said. "We feel like we have put the franchise in a great place for LeBron and all our players."
Gilbert will again hire a defensive-oriented coach, pointing to the finals matchup between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers as further proof that defense wins titles.
"I don't think you can get to the NBA Finals without a defensive-focused coach," he said.
Rubio in no hurry to NBA
BARCELONA, Spain — Ricky Rubio is promising NBA fans they'll get to see his razzle-dazzle, but not before the 2011-12 season — and not necessarily with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In an interview with the Associated Press, the highly rated prospect said he won't leave Spanish club Barcelona before his NBA opt-out clause comes up after next season. The Timberwolves remain his team of choice, as long as they make improvements following a season where they finished 15-67, the second-worst record in the league.
If not, the Spaniard may want to make his NBA debut elsewhere.
"I'm open to everything," the 6-foot-2 point guard said. "You never know when all of this finishes if it will be with this team."
The 19-year-old Rubio averaged 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds this season.
Finals rating up 17 percent
NEW YORK — The opener of the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals matched the teams' meeting two years ago for the highest preliminary rating for a Game 1 since 2004.
Los Angeles' 102-89 win Thursday night on ABC earned a 10.4 overnight rating, up 17 percent from the 8.9 for last year's Magic-Lakers series.
Ratings measure the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings represent the country's largest markets.