Griffin went to bat for Irving, saying the All-Star point guard is ready to test if he can truly flourish outside of LeBron James‘ shadow.
Griffin expects Cleveland to deal Irving, but wouldn’t speculate on where he’ll eventually end up.
“He handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to,” Griffin said Monday on ESPN’s The Jump. “He went to [Cavs owner] Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else.
“The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”
Griffin acknowledged that it’s fair to criticize Irving for not being able to succeed without LeBron.
“I don’t think he’s figured out how to carry the mantle of a team and win games in that environment,” he said. “None of the players on that team had learned how to do it before LeBron got there. That didn’t grow organically. They didn’t learn how to win together. Not that [Irving] couldn’t have carried the load, but he probably didn’t have enough expectation of himself to do it, because everybody just assumed, ‘Well if we lose this one, it’s OK.’ And that’s really my fault. We had to do a better job of calibrating everybody toward when LeBron is out of a game, that’s opportunity to you.”