I’m going to start this out by giving you a hypothetical situation.
There’s a guy who has only had one job his entire career and he was one of the best employees in the company. Even when his first contract was up, he decided he wanted to continue at that company to make the organization better.
Then a new, better employee came along and the guy didn’t complain. He thought it was great! The company could improve even more now. But that new employee is demanding and sometimes tough to work with.
The management at this company has never been great, but the guy figured he could just keep his head down and go to work and it would be fine. But management has started to make a lot of questionable decisions. The guy decides he wants a change of scenery and wants to switch jobs for a larger role and less volatile management.
Would you be mad if this regular guy left his regular job under these circumstances? Probably not. So why are people getting mad at Kyrie Irving for requesting a trade? LeBron is not an easy person to play with — he’s demanding and intense — while Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is always sticking his nose in the team’s operations.
He isn’t being disloyal. He spent six great years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has decided he needs something different. The idea that fans should expect loyalty from players is insane. Fans demand loyalty from players, but a team’s owner and management would drop a player the second he doesn’t help the bottom line.
As much as I don’t like Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, he made a good point to a reporter in June.
“Why wouldn’t I help a guy off the floor? Owners have drinks together at halftime,” Green said.
This quote came after Green took criticism for helping an opposing player up during a playoff game. Green pointed out that in the NBA, only the players are expected to be loyal.
I’m not mad at Kyrie for asking for a trade. I’m mad at Dan Gilbert for causing this mess.
Despite the Cavs losing the Finals to the Golden State Warriors, the summer looked bright for Cleveland. The Cavs needed to re-sign General Manager David Griffin — the guy who built the Cavs championship team in 2016 — and add one more playmaker to fight against the firepower of Golden State.
Gilbert didn’t re-sign Griffin because of a disagreement over the direction of the team, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
I understand that it’s Gilbert’s team, but he shouldn’t be making personnel decisions. Gilbert’s job is to own, not to manage.
After losing one of the best general managers in the NBA, there was a whole mess with the Cavs trying to hire former NBA champion Chauncey Billups in the position but then lowballing him on the contract.
If you’re trying to hire someone, you need to at least offer him more than ESPN is paying him.
So now the Cavs, without a general manager, are trying to compete against the rest of the NBA to acquire new players.
Here are the players the Cavs have added this summer: Jose Calderón, Jeff Green and Cedi Osman. If you find yourself thinking “Who?” you aren’t alone. None of those players are going to stop Kevin Durant from scoring at will in June 2018.
Here are the players the Cavs have been rumored to be in talks with: Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Now that sounds like four perennial all-stars. But because of the lack of a GM and rumors of chaos in the organization, George went to Oklahoma City, Butler went to Minnesota, Anthony is still in New York and Paul went to Houston.
Gilbert made a name for himself as a petty, vengeful owner after his infamous open letter in the Cleveland Plain Dealer after LeBron left for Miami in 2011.
He clearly didn’t learn from his mistakes because he is about to lose Kyrie Irving this summer and quite possibly LeBron again next summer for the same reasons: getting in the way and not doing enough to help the Cavs compete in the NBA Finals.