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Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has been making the rounds on sports television and radio, and his latest stop came with NBA TV on Tuesday night.
There, Griffin addressed the ongoing trade talks involving the Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, centered on Cavs All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Despite a holdup in the deal resulting from Isaiah Thomas’ injured hip, Griffin said he thinks the trade will take place as originally constructed. Thomas, by the way, suffered the injury in May.
“I don’t think (Thomas’ injury) was a surprise necessarily,” Griffin said. “When you go through these deals, you share all the information you have, you share all the images you have. If the most recent images of Isaiah were as far back as the playoffs, a new set of images now will create the ability to compare and contrast, and see how things have improved.
“So I don’t think it’s a situation where anybody was caught off guard. It was just a case of getting perhaps more information. Obviously, Isaiah is in this league because he has heart and soul that is almost unparalleled, and I believe him when he says he’s gonna be back to 100 percent.”
Griffin parted ways with the Cavs in June, shortly after their third straight trip to the Finals.
As currently constructed, the trade will also send Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s first-round pick to the Cavs. It is a deal Griffin said he too would make if he were still GM.
“I think I would have,” he told NBA TV. “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. You’re all the way with me, or you’re all the way against me. And I think this is a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal that might not have jived with Cleveland’s.
“They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be a key for them — a 25-year old player in his prime, an NBA champion, an Olympic champion. He is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be.”
Griffin said the deal is something that needs to be finalized for both sides — adding that he thinks it will go through as originally planned, without any additions from the Celtics.
“There’s not a lot of upside to this deal coming undone, for either side,” he said. “Because of that, I think it will end up going through as is. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get Isaiah to a point where he’s ready sooner than people think.”
No matter what happens with this particular trade, Griffin suspects this won’t be the Cavs’ final move between now and the trade deadline in February.
“One of the real blessings of this is Koby and his team don’t need to be done,” Griffin said. “They can continue to try to build the team. The value-to-production of Jae Crowder and his contract is incredible. As you move closer to the trade deadline, the assets they’ve acquired may be able to put to work again.
“I think they’re really in a unique position. This doesn’t have to be the end for them.”