The Cleveland Cavaliers are nearing a crossroad of sorts, or perhaps a long series of intersections full of unpredictable possibilities. A new possibility, at least according to Stephen A. Smith, is that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert might hit the eject button on the franchise sometime in the near future.
Smith lobbed this grenade on top of an uncertain bunch of rumors and concerns for the Cavaliers on Wednesday, appearing on First Take to discuss the future of the team, including the always-looming possibility that LeBron James leaves the team for free agency this summer.
But Smith said it’s entirely possible that Gilbert wants out as well, which is one of the main reasons why he would like to get James to commit to a long-term deal and boost the value of the franchise.
“I’ll tell you the No. 1 reason why LeBron ain’t gonna capitulate to anything that Dan Gilbert wants to do,” Smith said. “Because what Dan Gilbert wants to do, from what I’m being told, is sell the team. They’re more viable as a commodity if LeBron James is on your squad, as opposed to if LeBron James leaves. That’s one of the reasons why Dan Gilbert wanted him to commit to 3-to-5 years. Because within that time span, you sell the team, you get money out the wazoo, and LeBron is left.”
I’m not entirely sure it’s that simple, and selling any NBA team will get someone “money out the wazoo,” but it is an interesting theory at least. Plus if Gilbert does indeed plan to sell, it makes sense that he wants to maximize his return on investment.
Still, if this is indeed true, this is one of those situations where the player truly does have all the power when it comes to negotiating when they hit free agency. Only instead of the normal leverage a player has, James would possess the ability to decide how much money Gilbert could get back in a potential sale.