Gilbert Might Have Traded LeBron

If he had it to do over again, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said, he never would have promised that his team would win an NBA championship before LeBron James won one with the Miami Heat.

He wouldn’t have had to, because that whole business of James’ departure as a free agent in July 2010 would have been handled much differently. The Decision would have been Gilbert’s, not James’.

With another crack at it, Gilbert said, he and then-GM Danny Ferry would have peddled James sooner, getting back some assets via trade before he left the Cavs as an unrestricted free agent. The lesson provided most recently by Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti in his pre-emptive trade of James Harden apparently caught Gilbert’s eye.

Speaking with reporters prior to the team’s opener, a 94-84 victory at Quicken Loans Arena, Gilbert said he regretted waiting until his superstar could leave with no return to the Cavs:

”The key thing, whoever you are and wherever you are, you can not wait,” Gilbert said. ”The big lesson was if a player is not willing to extend, no matter who they are, no matter where they are playing, no matter what kind of season you had, you can not risk going into a summer and having them leave in unrestricted free agency and get nothing back for it.”

That would have shifted the bad-guy status to the team, Gilbert acknowledged. “I’m sure the player or whoever would have said, ‘Of course I would have stayed. You guys screwed up and ruined the whole franchise.’ You’re in a no-win situation,” the Cavs owner said.

Had he and the Cavs gotten out in front of James’ decision to leave, it also would have spared Gilbert the embarrassment of his angry letter to Cavs fans, which he came to regret almost immediately. Famously printed in Comic Sans font, it was an attempt to soothe the locals’ hurt feelings by lashing out at James. The bit of bravado was silly from the start and factually wrong the moment Miami dumped Oklahoma City in The Finals in June.

“Looking back now, that probably was not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Gilbert said Tuesday. “If you’re going to predict something that doesn’t happen and you’re going to do it publicly, you’d for sure take it back.

“When that happened when they won, it was the end of the end of the end of that whole thing. Now there’s nothing more to talk about. In a way it was like a little bit of a relief. If they didn’t win it, it would’ve been still another thing of who’s going to win it [first]?”

A better question now: How many rings will James win before the Cavaliers actually win one. Print that one out in Comic Sans.


  1. Drew says:

    he will never play for the Cavs again, unless its at the very end of his career when he is like 36 years old. Even King James cant beat Father Time though and he will have nagging injuries and only be 80 pct of what he is now by then. I doubt if he will even jump ship in 2014 but if he does it would likely be Nets Knicks or Bulls. he doesnt seem enamored with Lakers so too bad for you Laker fans.

  2. Victor Manoel says:

    It’s sad, but I still think the Cavs made the right decision back in 2010. What would they do? They were the best team of the league, the had the MVP and were playing their way to The Finals. Had they won that title, LeBron would stay there forever. The Cavs had then a REAL, REAL chance of being champions, but they failed against the savvy Celtics. In fact, today I think the Cavs made a huge mistake when they didn’t trade J.J, Hickson for Amar’e Stoudemire and his expiring contract (the Suns were in the same quest for the title and sticked with their Nash-STAT duo).

    Just saying that was a completely different situation, Harden’s trade was way easier to make.

  3. robbie says:

    woulda coulda shoulda cries dan gilbert ahahahhahahhaha lebrons gonna have another couple rings b4 the cavs make the playoffs

  4. mike says:

    All you guys saying Lebron will go back to Cleveland, I need to know what color is the sky is in your world! There’s no way in hell Lebron will EVER…EVER EVER. Go back to Cleveland. Now smarten up. Listen I know it’s unfortunate but this is a business. As much as you guys think the players owe us something they owe us jack. Good on him for leaving, I like Cleveland and they may even have a chance to make the playoffs who knows. But it’s over let it go know one listens to techno.
    rule #1
    gm to star player. “so can we count on you extending and signing a long term deal?”
    star player “…i have to talk tomy agent and see i’ll let you know”
    GM to owner ” we’re fkd’ dumo him”
    Lesson learned you won’t see this again.
    this same rule applies to chicks “she doesn’t want to be with you move the fk on, plenty more out there”

  5. John says:

    Hindsights a wonderful thing

  6. rob says:

    Gilbert made a mistake, but his letter after the “debacle” was not it. He spoke for a fan base and called out the quitter who laid down in the biggest game of the Celts series, and lied about his phantom elbow injury. LBJ had all sorts of excuses, West and his mom, the exaggerated elbow, his teammates, (who helped lead the team to 2 years best record in the NBA).
    But all he had to do was follow through and give it his all, and Cleveland probably would have won the title that last year.

    Spent 7 years defending LBJ from all the haters, ya know what, they were right. And when he quits, or I meant retires, people will still be talking about how he quit in Cleveland and had to go to North Cuba and win one on Wades team, big deal.

  7. zabusa says:

    butthurt haha

  8. Questioning says:

    What would a fair trade for lebron be?

    • Dwayne Wade says:

      A rack of ribs, two watermelon, and a set of rims…as long as the team that was getting him agreed to put him in counseling for his personality disorder he apparently has.

  9. Mr. Oouch says:

    “A better question now: How many rings will James win before the Cavaliers actually win one”
    Pretty well said Mr. Aschburner

  10. RgR says:

    In my opinion OKC was in a completely different situation then the cavs.. Lebron was going to play 1 more year for sure, at the allstar break they were #1 team in the league, your saying trade him now because he MIGHT walk? What about the PRESENT possible championship (yes its easy to say but he DIDNT win and he DID walk, then obviously if you had the given future information you WOULD have traded him asap). You don’t just trade your franchise player, not just ANY franchise player either, mid season while your sitting at #1 record in the league midway through, EVERY team would have made the “mistake” not to trade him halfway simply because of logic. If you trade him now, its 100% certainty you DON’T win and he IS gone, keeping him gives you a chance to win AND keep him.

  11. amitpal says:

    U cant really blame gilbert for being mad. What lebron did was completely messed up. Lebron is really an over grown child. After everything the cavs did for him he leaves them hanging like they ment nothing to him. Gilbert wasnt one of those bad owners that loved money more tha. Winning. He spent every dime he had to to get lebon the team he needed to win and lebron doesnt even tell him whwther hes leaving or not. I’m sorry but after that I wouldnt want lebron back. Gilbert dont let lebron come back to the team. Lebron needs to feel the guilt for the mistske he made forever. I hope cavs fan hate him forever for this.

  12. The Truth says:

    Someone is a little salty.

    • Blair Doherty says:

      Looking at the cavs young players they have picked in the last two drafts. Think most of them will be still be on there Rookie contracts when Lebron hits free agency. So if Cleveland keep there cap in cheak the next few years they should be able to offer Lebron a contract easy enough. Kryie Irving might have signed a extension by that time. But should still be able to fit Lebron in

  13. jay says:

    why so bitter dan giberlt hahaahhaha

  14. Spaz26 says:

    i think gilbert need to talk to his GM and plan to customize the team for the 2014 free agency to have a chance to get back lebron..forgive & forget as they say, only a dumb person would not want lebron to his team..and i personally think lebron wants to play for his hometown again, would’nt you agree?