He sat down for an interview with Cleveland.com published Wednesday and talked about his past dealings with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, both of whom have left winning Cavs teams.
And he believes from what he sees now that Irving fully intends to leave the Boston Celtics in free agency.
Dan Gilbert isnt the only one who expects Kyrie Irving to leave the Celtics. (AP)MoreGilbert: Cavs killed it with Irving dealThe Cavs dealt Irving to the rival Celtics in 2017, believing that he intended to leave at the end of his contract that expires this summer and wanting to net something in return.
They received a broken-down Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick that turned into Collin Sexton for Irving. They later traded Thomas, Channing Frye and their own first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.
Faced with the prospect of seeing Irving eventually walk in free agency, Gilbert had high praise for general manager Koby Altman for making the Irving deal.
Cleveland Cavaliers in-game entertainment name changes
We could have ended up with nothing, Gilbert said. Looking back after all the moves Koby made, we killed it in that trade.
Its difficult to argue with that logic. Three role players are certainly better than nothing, even if they gave up an All-Star in the process. And Sexton has a decent amount of upside coming off an effort that earned him NBA All-Rookie second team honors.
Dan Gilbert opened up about Clevelands past dealings with star players. (AP)MoreGilbert also confirmed the long-cited report that Irvings team used his knee trouble as leverage to force a deal out of town by threatening to have surgery during his time remaining in Cleveland.
The agent was telling us, if we dont trade him, there is some surgery he is on the borderline of having on his knee, Gilbert said. It was possible he could be out for most of the year. It turned out to be true.
As for James, Gilbert told Cleveland.com that the Cavs werent as blindsided by his departure to the Lakers last offseason as his unexpected exit to the Miami Heat in 2010.
Unless someone has at least verbally committed, you had to assume that could happen, Gilbert said. We were better prepared this time around.”
Thats not exactly a groundbreaking revelation. Gilbert didnt write a scathing, petulant Comic Cans rant chastising a narcissistic James for leaving the second time around.
As Goul noted how Beilein touched on, having Kevin Love on the floor more than during the 2018-19 season (of which he only played in 22 games) wouldn’t hurt in relation to off-catch shooting for Cleveland because of his passing and scoring presence, presumably for pieces such as Sexton, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr., Dellavedova, and perhaps Cleveland’s (likely) two draft selections in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Gilbert didnt expound much on why he believes Irving will leave Boston. Hes done little during his tenure to convey that he has much working knowledge of basketball operations.
Judging by their colorful and shared history with the Cleveland Cavaliers, its fair to wonder if Dan Gilbert and LeBron James were ever truly on the same page.
Speaking with The Plain Dealers Terry Pluto on everything from Koby Altmans hire to the teams 2017 trade of Kyrie Irving, the longtime Cavs owner was frank when asked to define life with LeBron, the NBAs biggest name.
“With LeBron, there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment, Gilbert said. “Its a win now at all costs … It all revolves around the sun, which is him.”
After a pause, Pluto said, Gilbert continued: “Whatever pressure comes with it, it worked out. We won a title.”
The Cavaliers best stretch in team history was fueled by James return to Cleveland following his infamous move to Miami, complete with LeBron claiming NBA Finals MVP as part of the franchises first championship. But just months before James latest departure, this time to the Los Angeles Lakers, reports indicated that he and Gilbert had a rocky relationship. The Cavs owner paid tribute to No. 23 upon James signing with L.A., but hes perhaps more famous for his scathing letter to James after the superstars first foray into free agency, back in 2010.
Both Gilbert and the Cavaliers handled James latest departure more respectfully, the owner told Pluto.
“Unless someone has at least verbally committed, you had to assume that could happen,” Gilbert said. “We were better prepared this time around.”