I already know what some readers may say. This is just another oh-woe-is-me-Cleveand-fan article. Not the case. Since the Cavs won a title, I’m as happy as a pig in mud. However, I’m also greedy and want more. With that being said, I couldn’t sit back and keep quiet with the recent Pelicans/Lakers deal that was done.
One of the architects of that trade was former Cavs GM David Griffin whose contract was not renewed by Cleveland two years ago this month. Griffin did what any GM sets out to do, which is to win a championship for his team, and that he did a year prior to his release. However, the exact reason for his departure was always something of a mystery.
One rumor mill had Lebron being too involved in the dealing/signing process and Griffin wanting to get away from that. Another was that majority owner Dan Gilbert only likes to hang onto GM’s for three years before moving on. There is almost no logic in the latter, but believe what you want to. When it comes to money and egos, anything is possible.
Now, I have nothing against current Cavs GM Koby Altman. He’s finding his way and he’s learning the ropes of the job in the driver’s seat. The Kyrie trade with Boston was something of a stumbling block of a deal, though I expect Altman to learn from his mistakes and be more aggressive when it comes to moving players and maximizing on the return. All of that brings us back to Griffin and the landmark trade that occurred a few days ago between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
It’s old news now, but let’s do a quick recap. Disgruntled forward Anthony Davis wanted out of the Big Easy. The Lakers wanted him as a home player at the Staples Center. The original deal was for the Lakers to send Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and the 2019 4th overall pick to the Pelicans for Davis. That was a lot to ask for, but you don’t know what you can get unless you try, right? Right, because Griffin asked and that is not the deal that happened.
He got more.
The deal that did happen was even better. The Lakers like Kuzma too much to deal him, so he wasn’t going anywhere. In his place, they provided three first-round picks, one of which is this year’s 4th overall spot. Potentially, the Pelicans could get Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett in the draft now. Think about that for a second.
At the end of the day, it was one hell of a haul for Griffin and company. It’s kind of like me saying I’ll sell you this lawn mower for $100, but you say no, and that you’re not giving me any less than $200 for it. Okay. I’d be a fool to decline that offer.
Sometimes, there are some pro sports deals that are so head-scratching to me, I wonder how one of the sides agreed to it. For Griffin, the deal was an absolute no-brainer. Yes, the Lakers got one of the best players in the league with the addition of Davis, yet their bench is now a question mark.
This is what happens when you are a capable general manager in any sport. You lock down a trade that looks like a steal, instantly making your team better while simultaneously building for the future. Griffin’s services are sorely missed here on the north coast, but as one can see, they have not gone to waste. I am sure Koby Altman is taking notes…I hope.