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David Griffin defends Kyrie Irving’s Trade Request (Video)

David Griffin The Jump Kyrie Irving

While Cavalier fans are left wondering what the hell is happening in Independence, Cleveland’s former general manager went to bat for disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving. On Monday afternoon’s episode of ESPN’s “The Jump,” David Griffin said Irving’s recent trade demands were not ignorant as much as they were courageous.

“This isn’t youthful ignorance,” said Griffin. “He handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to. He went to [Cavs owner] Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else. The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”

Irving shocked the NBA by requesting a trade from the very team that not only won him his first NBA Championship, but one that is on pace to make their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, citing the desire to no longer play with four-time MVP LeBron James. The subsequent weeks have been littered with opinions on how this request should be digested at both the league and fan level. Griffin’s comments carry significant depth as he was the team’s general manager when Irving signed a contract extension early in the 2014 free agency period. It was Griffin’s departure that many feel is at the root of Irving’s request, reports circulating that the point guard wished to exclaim his frustration earlier, but could not get a meeting as the team was without a general manager.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ron Harper blasted Irving’s decision as being the product of youthful ignorance, but Griffin completely disagreed.

“I see this as him looking for a fit for himself, to take the next step in his career,” Griffin continued. “I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be. LeBron casts a very large shadow over an organization. And most of it is really, really positive. You know you are expected to win a championship by way of example. But what that doesn’t always allow is for a player like Kyrie to test his boundaries and see how good he can really be, and can I really be the front man of a team like that.”

Irving reportedly wants more stability within a franchise that is willing to make him the face. Reports earlier in this process documented jealousy of players like John Wall and Damian Lillard who have become the focal points of their respective franchises while playing point guard. In requesting a trade this summer, Irving allows the Cavaliers to maximize his value rather than limit the number of potential trade targets for what would be considered a one-year rental. It is also worth noting that Griffin himself has seen first hand what has gone on behind closed doors as he was not given a contract extension following the team’s championship in the summer of 2016 (while head coach Tyronn Lue was), and was unable to come to terms with owner Dan Gilbert leading up to his departure in late July.

Meanwhile, James is doing just fine, ensuring that regardless of what Irving does, he knows that the winning didn’t start until the summer of 2014.

  • CBiscuit

    Griffin isn’t on the payroll, so he can afford to take this non-courageous position of not challenging Kyrie (which also throws some subtle shade at Lebron and the org).

    The thing that surprises me is that when there’s severance, there’s no gag order in place preventing guys like Griffin from commenting. We’re actively trying to trade a huge asset in Kyrie (allegedly trying at least), and commentary from the former GM could affect trade value, tip our hand on position, etc.

  • MartyDaVille

    “Courage”? He doth maketh me laugh.

    Ego gratification at the expense of winning is more like it. But “courage”? No.

  • mgbode

    Often times, they do. For whatever reason, we didn’t have one in his contract.

  • BenRM

    I wonder if it is because the contract terminated on it’s own, and not because Griff left.

  • Saggy

    absolutely. If there’s no contract there is no reason for an agreement. The relationship is terminated.

  • Saggy

    By the way – if the Cavs are serious about the latest rumors it’s an absolute Jedi move by the young front office.

    Everyone is talking LeBron to the Lakers next summer; but what if they trade Kyrie to the Lakers this year?? Wow.

  • CBiscuit

    Yeah, I get that the contract timed out–just thought there might be a residual confidentiality/non-disclosure clause in there. I guess they didn’t have one in there.

    I get Griffin was trying to appear magnanimous in some ways here–or otherwise above the Cavs fray–but contractual obligations or not, wish he would have said nothing at all.

  • Chris

    You heard it here first.

    (Pats self on back)

  • Natedawg86

    At the same time, the guy is unemployed so he doesn’t want say too much that would be bad for the Cavs since a potential new employer would see it

  • CBiscuit

    He had the courage to self-gratify!

  • chrisdottcomm

    Ive not read these rumors but IF the Lakers thought they had ANY chance at Lebron they’d never trade for Irving now.