The Cavaliers have been the picture of dysfunction this offseason.
Kyrie Irving shocked the sports landscape with a trade request, and in a must-read timeline of the situation, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin explained how one facet of that dysfunction might have exacerbated the Kyrie Irving situation.
After the season, there was a desire to arrange a meeting to clear the air from all sides, sources said, but it didn't take place. Unlike most teams, the Cavs did not have postseason exit meetings with their players. Had a meeting with Irving taken place, the Cavs might have learned of the severity of his concerns earlier. The Cavs, however, were focused on other matters, namely Griffin's future.
You might be inclined to brush off something as routine as exit interviews as a major cause of dysfunction within the Cavaliers organization, but it’s yet another symptom that all adds up to a team that is not healthy culturally. Perhaps, if Irving’s issues were expressed as soon as the season was ending, the team could’ve been more proactive about trying to fix the situation.
Left to his own devices, Irving took a much more damaging route for the Cavs. Meanwhile, the report also reinforces just how important a GM, especially a good one the players trust, can be in an organization.
Of all the things an NBA general manager does, managing egos and emotions behind the scenes is perhaps most important. You can get salary-cap experts for the financial wizardry necessary to pilot an NBA franchise. Coaches are tasked with strategy and player development. But everything else -- the competing agendas, the massaging of superstar ambitions and frustrations -- all that falls on someone else. A behind-the-scenes guy, an assistant coach with a high emotional intelligence or, in Cleveland's case, the GM.
This is something that David Zavac has been hammering for quite some time; a tumultuous offseason with difficult decisions is a lot easier to traverse when the man executing the plan has the benefit of the doubt from the roster and the people around him. Griffin had that, and Dan Gilbert didn’t seem to value it enough.
Maybe he does now.