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LeBron James says it is 'unfortunate' Blake Griffin was dealt to Detroit Pistons

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on TNT: Cavs vs. Pistons (8 ET)

As the Cavs face the Pistons tonight in Detroit, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James says Detroit’s recent trade for Blake Griffin was an “unfortunate” move for the former LA Clippers star.

Speaking to the media in the hours before tonight’s game, James chimed in on the Griffin trade as well as his view of the larger narratives that can surround NBA free agency and trades. James has first-hand knowledge of how a move to a team can be perceived after signing with the Miami Heat (in the summer of 2010) and returning to the Cavs (in the summer of 2014).

Joe Vardon of has more from James on Griffin’s trade and his thoughts on player movement:

“He spent his last nine years there,” James said Tuesday, hours before the Cavs play the Pistons. “He signed a multi-year deal there this summer, so that’s unfortunate. But that’s the business side of it. It’s both sides. It works both sides, though. It’s the business.”

James said he was napping when word broke that the Clippers were sending Griffin, whom they had just signed to a five-year, $171 million contract last summer, to the Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and draft picks.

James uses situations like this, such as the Clippers’ trading of Griffin, to make his point about a perceived double standard in the NBA when it comes to loyalty.

“When a player gets traded, it’s they was doing what’s best for the franchise,” he said. “But when a player decides to leave, it’s, ‘He’s not loyal. He’s a snake. He’s not committed.’ It’s just, that’s the narrative of how it goes. So I’m definitely (aware). I know that firsthand.”

“We’ve got our own things to handle and get better at so, I’ve been focusing on just trying to get a win tonight,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Of course Blake can absolutely help this team. You have an All-Star, a perennial All-Star, great passer, can push it in transition, can post. Improved his jump shot, so, um, it was definitely a good trade for Detroit.”

Griffin will not play against the Cavs tonight.

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