David Griffin had lined out Kyrie Irving-Paul George trade before parting ways with Cavs
Former Cavs general manager David Griffin had been keenly aware of Kyrie Irving’s unhappiness playing alongside LeBron James and had already explored some ideas for a potential swap that could reap a return for Cleveland. Among them was the possibility of acquiring a high-caliber wing that would allow Cleveland to compete against the newly re-bolstered Golden State Warriors after they signed Kevin Durant and cruised to a 4-1 NBA Finals win in 2017.
Then there is Griffin, who before he parted ways with the organization knew Irving was unhappy and had already explored some ideas of his own to trade Irving — just not to the Celtics, and not for a deal in which the most valuable asset the Cavs were getting back was a draft pick for future use. Griffin’s idea was to leverage Irving’s desire for change as a way to acquire Paul George, another elite player who would have helped James try to win now. But he wasn’t going to do it without first getting a new deal from Gilbert, or without talking to Irving and agent Jeff Wechsler to make sure of Irving’s feelings.
Griffin’s exit from the Cavs’ front office was at first a shocking one, given his track record of bringing in the right talent to play alongside James and his rapport with the players and coaching staff.
His exit left an inexperienced front office with the tall task of trading the team’s second-best player and the magnanimous expectation of yielding an equal return for him — one which they clearly did not get, as they were forced to trade nearly all of those return pieces in that same year.
Had Griffin stayed with the organization, a partnership of George, James and Love might be ruling the Eastern Conference, instead of sitting at the bottom of it with a 2-12 record to start the 2018-19 season.