Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert catches a lot of flack for how he chooses to involve himself in the Cavs. He’s well known for being someone that likes to take part in the day to day activities when possible and his influence can be felt across the team frequently.
Sometimes that’s financial, like not spending the extra money to keep David Griffin around, or in personnel, like making the decision that the Cavs were going to trade Kyrie Irving after his trade request. There was also Cleveland making moves with the long term in mind despite having LeBron James on the roster during the 2018-19 NBA season.
Now, there was plenty of reason to have that idea in mind, but it was a departure from the past three years with James when they went all-in at all times. This time around, Koby Altman and Gilbert kept one eye on the future while retooling the roster for the present as well. They saved money, got younger, and set Cleveland up for a rebuild should James leave, and sure enough that’s what he did. He bolted for Los Angeles once free agency hit and left Gibert feeling like he made the correct decision.
Via Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com
“Unless someone has at least verbally committed, you had to assume that could happen,” said Gilbert. “We were better prepared this time around.”
“With LeBron (James), there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment,’’ said Gilbert. “It’s a win now at all costs. . . It all revolves around the sun, which is him.”
Gilbert paused, then added: “Whatever pressure comes with it, it worked out. We won a title.”
You can say that yes Gilbert did make the correct decision in pushing the Cavs in a more long term direction when James wouldn’t commit to them long term. There was a feeling throughout James final year in Cleveland that he was going to leave and that has to leave an owner concerned about moves being made to benefit James. But at the same time, when you have LeBron James you should be making win now moves at all times because you know what’s even better than one title? Two titles.
Gilbert will always be an owner that makes his presence known. It’s what he does. He did tell Pluto that he had no influence at all on the Cavs recent hiring of John Beilein, but his past history makes it somewhat hard to believe him fully.
“This narrative that I drove this (Beilein hiring) is wrong,” said Gilbert. “A few weeks ago, Koby brought up John to me. I obviously knew who he was, but I never met him.
Either way, Gilbert is who he is and that’s someone that Cavs will always have to work with until he chooses to sell the team someday.