The departure of Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2017 marked the downfall of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ team that created history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win their first NBA championship title. The Cavaliers may have acquired plenty of valuable trade assets in the blockbuster deal with the Boston Celtics, but the players, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, whom they expected to help them reclaim the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2017-18 NBA season failed to make themselves fit alongside LeBron James. This forced the Cavaliers to trade them before the 2018 February NBA trade deadline.
However, things could be different if the Cavaliers chose to keep David Griffin as their general manager rather than replacing him with Koby Altman. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, as quoted by Yahoo Sports, before his contract with the Cavaliers expired, Griffin was orchestrating a trade deal that would send Kyrie Irving to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Paul George. However, the deal reportedly died down when Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert decided not to give Griffin a contract extension.
“In June 2017, suspecting that Irving wanted out of Cleveland, Griffin had the framework of a deal done that not only would have brought Paul George to Cleveland from Indiana, but additional pieces from at least one other team in exchange for Irving and other Cavs. But Griffin wanted to talk to Irving and his agent, Jeff Wechsler, before making the trade, and Irving’s camp wouldn’t take the meeting until Griffin had a new contract from the Cavs. When Griffin’s deal expired and he couldn’t come to an agreement with Gilbert, the deal he’d outlined for Irving died.”
Clippers called Celtics about Kyrie Irving before Tobias Harris trade https://t.co/wONQUJRzvc— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) April 26, 2019
Firing David Griffin without thinking about the consequences is undeniably a bad move on the part of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The trio of Paul George, LeBron James, and Kevin Love would have given the Cavaliers a better chance of reclaiming the NBA championship title last season. Succeeding to win a title together may have convinced James and George to sign a long-term deal with the Cavaliers in the last free agency.
However, what is done is done and as of now, the Cavaliers should be focused on returning to title contention in the post-LeBron James era. When James left, the Cavaliers decided to make Kevin Love the new face of the franchise. Though they suffered a huge disappointment this year, the Cavaliers remain optimistic that they can build a roster that can at least help them return to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 2019 NBA offseason.