Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin called Kyrie Irving‘s trade request “courageous.” Griffin credited Irving for not just going along with everything and pretending to be happy, then “sinking the ship from within.”
Griffin’s comment was a response to former Cavaliers guard and five-time NBA champion Ron Harper’s comments on the Irving trade request to Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal.
“Youth. Ignorance,” Harper said Sunday of Irving, 25, after signing autographs at the legends booth on Cavs day at the $9.75 million World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.
“When I used to play on bad teams and you trained all off-season to play 82 games, you get to the first round and you lose. You’re guaranteed to play till June. The East is good, but you know that you’re the best basketball team,” Harper said. “I don’t really understand what’s behind it…
“It’s not a guarantee that the Cavaliers are going to trade him to a good team,” Harper said. “I asked a guy, ‘What happened to the old-school days?’ When a guy asked to get traded, you traded him to the sorriest team. That’s the way it worked.”
Many former NBA players feel the way Harper does, and a lot of us in Irving’s shoes would probably stay in Cleveland and chase the ring. However, I’ve got no problem with players taking control of their own destiny — if star players want to team up to try to win, and they can push for that/control it through free agency, more power to them. They need not be just hapless employees subject to the whims of GMs and owners (who would not be loyal to them, players get traded when it’s convenient for management).
Irving wants out — most likely because he knows LeBron James likely wouldn’t be loyal to him next summer and Irving wanted to be proactive. He may not land in his desired location, but Irving is trying to control his own fate.
He’s just trying to walk away from a situation a lot of players would love to be in, so there is backlash.