“Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did,” Griffin said on ESPN’s The Jump.
Irving, 25, has been the talk of the NBA since formally requesting a trade from Cleveland last month. The Cavaliers have made no tangible progress on a move, but there has been a near-constant stream of rumors and speculation in the weeks since.
“I think Kyrie’s going to end up getting traded,” Griffin said. “I don’t think this is youth and ignorance. This is a guy who handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to. He went to Dan Gilbert privately and told him he thought he would be happier somewhere else. The worst thing this guy could have done is pretend to be all in and sink the ship from within.”
Griffin was the Cavaliers general manager from 2014-2017, presiding over their run of three straight NBA Finals appearances. While the return of LeBron James catalyzed that run, Griffin was responsible for a number of trades that helped fortify the roster and bring a championship to Cleveland.
Gilbert’s decision to not bring Griffin back as the general manager set the stage for what’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Cavaliers. Reports of James being unhappy surfaced long before Irving’s trade demand, and the Cavs’ grip on the Eastern Conference appears to be loosening after the Boston Celtics signed Gordon Hayward this offseason.
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