The Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to come to an agreement to bring back former general manager David Griffin, but that doesn’t mean Griffin holds a grudge against his replacement, Koby Altman.
Griffin was nothing but supportive of the Cavs’ mega-deal to acquire a package including Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving, calling it “tremendous.” Griffin said the beauty of the trade — which also includes Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and the Celtics‘ 2020 second-round pick — is that it sets up the Cavs for another move down the road. Via Chris Fedor of cleveland.com:
“One of the real blessings of this is Koby and his team don’t need to be done (trading) at this point,” Griffin said. “They can continue to try to build the team. The value-to-production of Jae Crowder and his contract are incredible. As you move closer to the trade deadline, the assets they’ve acquired may be able to be put to work again in continuing to improve the team.”
Griffin is right. Crowder’s extremely team-friendly contract (he is owed a total of $22 million over the next three seasons), Zizic and the Nets‘ pick could all be attractive trade chips to teams who are selling near the deadline next season. If the Cavs get to February and think they have a real shot to contend with the Warriors, they could look to add another piece they believe takes them over the edge.
In order to make that sort of trade, however, they would need some sort of assurance from LeBron James that he’s not going to sign with another team next offseason. Cleveland isn’t about to mortgage its future by trading assets, only to watch James sign elsewhere and leave the team starting from scratch.
Whether they end up making another move, Altman and the Cavs can rest assured that they got pretty much the best possible outcome from the Irving situation.