In recent weeks, former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has weighed in a couple of times regarding the Kyrie Irving trade.
While some have been skeptical of the deal from Cleveland’s perspective, Griffin applauded the deal and complimented his replacement in the process.
When asked if he would have done the trade, Griffin told NBA TV on Tuesday night "I think I would have," via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. "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 was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland's was.”
Not only did Griffin support acquiring Thomas and Crowder, but he also thought that Zizic and the two draft picks (including Brooklyn’s 2018 first-rounder) were brilliant additions.
"They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value Koby was able to get," he claimed.
The trade will offer a great deal of flexibility for Cleveland, especially if the team needs to rebuild in the event of LeBron James leaving for the second time next summer.
"One of the real blessings of this is Koby and his team don't need to be done (trading) at this point. They can continue to try to build the team. The value-to-production of Jae Crowder and his contract are incredible," Griffin pointed out. "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. I think they clearly wanted to get some sustainability so that lottery pick was really important because in the absence of LeBron (James) that's the piece that helps them rebuild rather quickly."
As seen this summer, possessing Brooklyn’s first-round pick could result in landing the No. 1 overall selection. Additionally, Crowder’s team-friendly contract is also a very valuable trade asset. Or, if Crowder is productive in Cleveland, someone like Kevin Love could hit the trade block, especially if LeBron leaves, which would likely allow the team to acquire additional assets for a future rebuild.
While the threat of LeBron leaving remains real and scary for Cavs fans, the organization seems to have done as good a job as possible to position themselves for a future without him in the Irving trade.