As mentioned earlier, the Thunder reportedly will be bringing in Mike Winger from the Cavs to help fill the void left by Rich Cho. So who is this guy? Here’s what I found:
- Winger was hired by the Cavaliers in 2005. He was the manager of basketball operations and chief legal counsel for the team. He also filled a role of salary cap expert, which was primarily Rich Cho’s role with the Thunder.
- Winger’s education: He achieved his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in 2002, went to Toledo Law School until 2004 and then finished and achieved his juris doctorate from the University of Maryland in 2005.
- Winger is a fan of RealGM. In an interview with Darren Rovell of CNBC, he said, “In trade discussions internally and externally, it creates options for us in aggregating salaries. So rather than brainstorming and asking the question, ‘does this work?’ the software’s functionality displays all of the deals that work based on certain parameters we might select such as positions, players, salaries, etc.”
- His first (and only other) job was working as an assistant to agent, author and superlawyer Ron Shapiro at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute.
- After Danny Ferry left, Winger took on a larger role. He was strictly the team’s legal counsel, but started talking to agents, working on contracts and earned more responsibility under new GM Chris Grant. You know, kind of like an assistant GM or something.
- This means his role with the Thunder must be more significant. He was becoming an extremely valuable asset to Cleveland as they tried to navigate under a new front office leader and rebuild a franchise. So for him to leave, his position with the Thunder is clearly heavier.
- He fits the Thunder front office profile. He’s young, sharp and upcoming. He’s right at 30 and is moving quickly up the front office ranks. This new spot with the Thunder is surely a big leap for him.
- Expect Dan Gilbert’s comic sans letter to come on Winger soon. “I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED WINGER WINS ONE IN OKLAHOMA CITY.”