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Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin joined an ESPN program and said he believes All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will be traded.
“I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be,” Griffin said on ESPN’s “The Jump.”
Griffin and the Cavs somewhat surprisingly parted ways after the season. The Cavs went to three straight Finals during Griffin’s reign as GM, winning the championship in 2016.
Irving has requested a trade and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and new GM Koby Altman are trying to accommodate him.
“Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did,” Griffin said of Irving’s request.
He added, “I think Kyrie’s going to end up being traded.”
Sources have told Amico Hoops that Griffin explored several Irving trade scenarios before parting ways with the organization. One centered around former Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, sources said — but those talks quickly dissolved and Paul eventually was shipped to the Houston Rockets.
“This is a guy who recruited LeBron (James), (Gordon) Hayward and a host of other free agents,” Griffin said on ESPN. “All of a sudden LeBron came back, so (Irving) was sold a totally different situation, and he worked very well in and won a championship in.
“I see this as him looking for a fit for himself to take the next step in his career.”
Griffin also took exception to comments made by former Cavs guard Ron Harper, who said that Irving’s trade request was the result of “youth” and “ignorance.”
“I think what Ron was saying was really unfair to Kyrie,” 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, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else.”
Irving, 25, has been linked to the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves, among others — but sources told Amico Hoops on Monday that no deal is close.
Griffin spoke to the New York Knicks about their GM vacancy, but removed himself from the running early on The Knicks ultimately hired Scott Perry for the job.
Griffin said he is uncertain what awaits for his own future. It appears he has been invited to be a regular analyst on ESPN, as he is scheduled to appear on “The Jump” on Tuesday as well.
Former #Cavs GM David Griffin thinks Kyrie Irving will be traded.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) August 7, 2017