DETROIT: Cavaliers star LeBron James said he was shocked when he woke up from a nap Monday to learn that the Los Angeles Clippers had traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons.

Griffin, a five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection, signed a five-year, $171 million contract with the Clippers last summer and had been the face of the franchise.

“I was like, a little bit in shock when I first saw it. But it’s a business. As unfortunate as it looks, I know the business so it is what it is,” James said before shootaround Tuesday for the Cavs game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.

Asked why he thought it was unfortunate, James said, “Because he spent his last nine years there. He signed a multi-year deal there this summer, so that’s unfortunate. But that’s the business side of it. It works both sides, though.”

James sees the two sides of a player of Griffin’s magnitude leaving.

“When a player gets traded, it’s they was doing what’s best for the franchise. But when a player decides to leave, it’s, ‘He’s not loyal. He’s a snake. He’s not committed,’ ” James said. “That’s the narrative of how it goes. So I’m definitely [aware]. I know that first-hand.”

A team that was once the laughingstock of the league was transformed into one known as “Lob City” with Griffin, guard Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan as its core. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal in June and Jordan is also being shopped.

James could relate to the end of that run as well. He played four years in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and they went to four NBA Finals and won two titles.

Asked about the end of the “Lob City” Clippers, James said, “That’s how the league is now. That’s how it goes. It’s no different from us being in Miami and us grabbing the attention for four years and it changes. Or Boston, what they were doing in ’08, ’09, ’10, and then it changes. You know, Orlando was playing great ball with Dwight [Howard], it changes. OKC grabbed it for a little. That’s just how it goes in professional sports at times, unless you’re San Antonio or the New England Patriots. Pretty much everybody else has some moving things that move around.”

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who played guard for 10 years in the NBA, felt the same as James.

“All great things come to an end. Lob City, the Highlight Factory in Atlanta, it all comes to an end some day,” Lue said.

Wade back

Guard Wade rejoined the Cavs following the death of his agent Henry “Hank” Thomas in Chicago on Saturday morning, but Lue revealed Wade is dealing with a left shoulder injury.

“He said his shoulder feels pretty good, worked out good yesterday, working on it now, so just gotta see how he responds tonight, but the plan is he’s going to play,” Lue said. “Not an injury, just a little whatever in practice the other day.”

Wade explained that the issue dates back to surgery he underwent on his left shoulder in 2007. While with the Miami Heat, he dislocated it and suffered a torn labrum, but elected to wait until after the playoffs to have surgery. Heat president Pat Riley later revealed Wade’s injury was so severe it caused nerve damage.

“Sometimes it gets hit and doesn’t feel as great,” Wade said. “I’ve had a couple days off, it feels a lot better.”

Wade is still coping with the passing of Thomas, 64, who had long battled a neuromuscular disorder. Wade played music from the Spinners, one of Thomas’ favorite groups, as he warmed up for shootaround.

Wade, seated next to James, turned up the song, I’ll Be Around, and James said, “I love that song,” crooning, “Whenever you calllll me, I’ll be therrrrre.

“It’s great to have him back. That’s my guy. I love him,” James said.

Wade said he will have to leave this weekend to return to Chicago for Thomas’ funeral, but won’t miss any significant time. The Cavs have two days off on both sides of Saturday’s home game against the Houston Rockets.

“It’s tough, obviously for anybody who’s lost somebody who’s close to them and loves them. I’ve never lost anybody in my family that has been close to me, this is the first person that I’ve lost. Just dealing with that,” Wade said.

“Obviously understanding for the last year he’s been getting sicker and sicker. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

“I’ve definitely tried to remember the 15 years I’ve had with him. I’ve tried to remember the good times. As I said in my [Instagram] post I hated calling him my agent because he’s definitely been so much more than that in my life. He’s definitely a father to me. He’s going to be missed. My goal is to take what he taught me and take the legacy that he leaves and try to continue to live it out and continue to make him proud of me and his family.”

More on Isaiah

Lue further explained why he sat guard Isaiah Thomas for the entire fourth quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Pistons. He had already totaled 27½ minutes.

“We talked and he knew what the situation was. Not a big deal knowing he’s still on a minute restriction and how to get him in for those few minutes in that fourth quarter,” Lue said. “He played the whole third quarter … [In] the last four or five minutes of that third quarter he scored and assisted on a lot of plays.

“Going into the fourth quarter he had a few minutes to spare as far as minute restrictions. We couldn’t play him right away in the fourth quarter so do you get him in for three or four minutes and then bring him back out or do you try to get him in the last four minutes? By that time, we were up 15 or 16 or so it just didn’t make sense.”

Van Gundy’s reaction

The Pistons had lost eight consecutive games going into Tuesday, but Stan Van Gundy, coach and team president, was elated over the Griffin trade.

“I’m not an ecstatic person, but I’m about as excited as you can be I guess for me in the middle of the season on an eight-game losing streak,” he said. “Really the juices get flowing and you see all the possibilities with a guy like that.”

Van Gundy said Griffin was flying in Tuesday night and will undergo a physical Wednesday. He doubted Griffin would arrive before the end of the game, since his flight was scheduled to depart at tipoff. He expected the new Pistons would be ready to play after an hour walk-through on Thursday.

Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com.