Although the blockbuster deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics that would send Kyrie Irving to Boston for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick has yet to officially go through, plenty of people have had opinions on the trade.
The most significant opinion seems to be of former Cavs general manager David Griffin, who was succeeded by current general manager Koby Altman after owner Dan Gilbert decided to part ways with Griffin and not sign him to another deal back in June. While on NBA TV Tuesday night, Griff admitted that it was a great trade for the Cavs.
Here’s some of what he said:
“I think I would have. I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances. When you’re trying to win a championship, there is no in between,” Griffin said. “You’re all the way with me, or you’re all the way against me. And I think this was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland’s was.
“They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value Koby was able to get. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be the key for them — a 25-year old player in his prime who is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be.”
During his time in Cleveland, Griffin was well known for his way to orchestrate trades that somehow landed the Cavs with players who could give significant minutes while not trading away much, if anything at all. While he never traded away a player as talented as Irving, his approval of the trade and comments on why it was such a great trade for the wine and gold is definitely a good thing and has to make Altman happy.
Keep in mind, while the exact reason(s) why Gilbert and Griffin parted ways aren’t exactly clear, there have been plenty of reports that have leaked since then. One of which was that Griff and Gilbert disagreed on player or players that the team should trade in order to give the team a better shot to take down the juggernaut Warriors. When Irving requested a trade, the former general manager made it known that he defended the request. Maybe, Griffin was one of the guys who wanted to part ways with Irving, but Gilbert didn’t want to. I wonder what the owner thinks of all of that now?
For Altman, making a trade like this is one heckuva way to start his job as the youngest general manager in the league. At 32 years old, he is expected to not only give LeBron James a good enough team so that he can not only return to the NBA Finals for the eight-consecutive season, but also one that will entice No. 23 to stay in Cleveland when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. That’s quite the task for the new general manager, but if this trade didn’t signal it already, it seems as though Altman is up for the challenge.