Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert can’t stay out of the national spotlight.
While the pro basketball world was awaiting the word of a blockbuster trade involving guard Chris Paul going to the Los Angeles Lakers, Gilbert was sending an email to commissioner David Stern saying the trade was ridiculous.
Several members of the media, mostly those working for ESPN, blasted the Cavs owner for his sentiments, saying that he was showing his bitterness from losing LeBron James to the Miami Heat. A move that the four letter network quickly jumped on, creating all kinds of new ways to cover the superstar trio on South Beach.
Kind of makes you wonder if they were somehow involved in swaying James to play for the Heat, doesn’t it?
However, these critics didn’t listen to the message, just who was delivering it. By the way, Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban was also against the deal, but that didn’t get half the publicity that Gilbert’s remarks did.
The Cavs’ owner may believe that sending another all-star player from a smaller market to a big market is bad for the sport, which it probably is, and he did use a great analogy in suggesting that the 25 teams not located in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami be called the Washington Generals, but that’s not what his email said.
His objection to the proposed deal with would have sent Paul to the Lakers in a three team deal which would have netted the Houston Rockets Pau Gasol, and Paul’s former team, the New Orleans Hornets Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, and Kevin Martin, was that the Lakers would have received the best player in the deal, plus gained salary cap relief, presumably so they can sign other players.
As one of the owners of the Hornets, the league owns the team currently, Gilbert has a stake in the negotiations. And as someone who wants competitive balance for the smaller markets, he certainly was not in favor of the Lakers getting the best of both worlds.
The Lakers want to get Paul, so they can make a run at another title before Kobe Bryant’s age becomes a factor? Great, but they should have to pay for that privilege with a luxury tax bill. Also, being over the cap would restrict them from getting another great player, like Orlando’s Dwight Howard, the best big man in the game, and a supposed target of the purple and gold.
In reading Gilbert’s email, which by the way, was sent to Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver, so it was leaked to the media by someone, he doesn’t say the trade shouldn’t happen, simply that the Lakers should have to either A). give up more or B). take a bad contract back.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the same thing a few years ago when LA sent a load of garbage (although Marc Gasol turned out to be a good player, he wasn’t on the Lakers roster) to Memphis for Pau Gasol. Popovich said something to the effect that his team would like to make one of those trades where he gives up nothing and gets a real good player.
For all the criticism taken by Gilbert nationally, his comments were well received in Cleveland. He is regarded as an owner that has the fans’ back, and will rail against things that aren’t fair.
Some will say he has a massive ego, and likes to hear himself talk. Others will make the crazy comment that no free agent will want to play here because of him.
First, the Cavs had arguably the best player in the sport, and no one came here, and second, the ownership in Milwaukee and Indiana aren’t as high-profile as Gilbert, and no one is signing there either.
It’s just another case of ESPN and the national media kicking Cleveland like the soccer ball they are forcing down everyone’s throats. They want people to feel sorry for us, and apparently having Dan Gilbert as an owner is just another reason to do that.
Guess what. For the most part, Dan Gilbert has shown he is one of us. He thinks the NBA is turning into a league in which most of the teams can’t compete for a title. If it doesn’t watch out, in 20 years, the association will have six teams, and it will be regarded as a regional sport.