Kyrie Irving has received some criticism over his request to be traded out of Cleveland, but former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin isn’t in that camp.
Griffin, who was recently let go by the team — just before the free-agent market opened — may still have a sour taste in his mouth over what happened. That’s why many were anticipating he would provide some strong takes during his appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” which was scheduled to take place Monday.
Sure enough, Griffin didn’t disappoint.
He first began by responding to Ron Harper’s criticism of Irving. Remember, Harper blamed “youth” and “ignorance” for his trade request.
“I think what Ron was saying is really unfair to Kyrie,” Griffin said. “This is a guy who handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to. He went to Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else. The absolute worst thing this guy could’ve done is pretend to be all in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did. That’s not youth and ignorance. That’s a little bit more courage than people give him credit for.
Griffin then commented on why Irving may have requested a trade, and analyzed some potential landing spots.
“I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be,” he said. “LeBron casts a very large shadow over an organization, and most of it is really, really positive. You know you’re 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 a little bit and see how good he can really be. And can I actually be the frontman of a team like that?
“Again, the teams on his list — Gordon Hayward in Boston and Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio — he would be accompanied by other great players, so it’s not like he’s asking to lead a ragtag bunch. He just wanted to put himself in a position, I think, where he could find out exactly what he has as a 25-year-old entering his prime.”
It’s not surprising that Griffin would go to bat for Irving, given how Cavs ownership treated him.