Danny Ferry resigned as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a surprise decision that complicates the most important offseason in team history.
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 told The Associated Press. "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 his 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.
James was not available to comment on Ferry's exit.
TV ratings rise: 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.