Its 3 a.m. on a Saturday Night and I find myself not being able to sleep after the Crawford Horn WBO Welterweight fight. Usually when I can’t sleep I watch reruns of “The Wayne’s Bros” on MTV 2. On this particular occasion I just did what I normally do when I’m chilling. I just surf YouTube for hours watching sports history content, or any free documentary I can find. But all I ended up doing, being the clingy pathetic Cleveland sports fan I am, was re-watch game three film from Wednesday night. I was solely stuck on the deep three Kevin Durant drained with 49.8 seconds left in the game. I was like Ben in the movie Fever Pitch, played by the amazing Jimmy Fallon, re-watching in a daze the Bill Buckner error in the 1986 World Series.
Two nights later, Durant would go on to win his second straight Finals MVP. As I watched Warriors Owner, Joe Lacob, and President of Basketball Operations, Bob Myers, hoist their third Larry O’Brien Trophy at center court, I immediately thought, “why have I not seen this in my life?” I’m not referring to not witnessing an NBA Championship. I am referring to the fact that we have not seen solid NBA front office management since Dan Gilbert has bought this franchise in 2005. When Dan Gilbert arrived in Cleveland, talks of moving the franchise surfaced; however, Gilbert immediately shut down rumors saying “We will not be moving the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will be staying put in downtown Cleveland, right where they belong.” Dan proved that he wasn’t a Clay Bennett or even an Art Modell. He was someone who loved Cleveland, and truly loved being here in the sports scene. A guy from T.S.U.N. loved Cleveland, it was dumbfounding! Dan Gilbert has brought the same revitalization he did with his home town Detroit to Cleveland. He has brought so many jobs downtown through Quicken Loans and has brought even more revenue to the city with “Jack Casino” after Ohio legalized casino gambling in 2009.
Image: (Business Insider)
This man has done a lot for our city and is a great person and business mogul. But at the end of the day, fans only care about the business aspect of our team to a certain degree. Quicken Loans Arena is a modernly fit NBA/AHL arena. With the new renovations underway, the venue should only being gaining monetary value.This seems to be the only business thing concerning Gilbert, and the bottom line is, Dan Gilbert is not a respected NBA owner. The only thing he is known for in the NBA community is the infamous “letter” he wrote to LeBron James and the city of Cleveland days after James’ departure to Miami in July of 2010. Dan Gilbert isn’t looked at as a Wyc Grousbeck or Joe Lacob. In this decade alone, horrible basketball moves have been made under his watch. In a remarkable span where the Cavs netted the top pick in three out of four seasons, and a total of 5 top five picks in a four year span; only two picks panned out for us, and one was dealt under urgent circumstances at the time. He fired a great coach in Byron Scott way too soon, just to bring back Mike Brown. And as history has shown us, when you bring back personnel after being fired before, it never ends well, just ask this guy!
(SI.com: Yankee’s 5 time manager, Billy Martin)
LeBron James can opt out of his fifth year player option on July 1st and become a free agent once again in his career. To make sure LeBron James retires a Cleveland Cavalier, Dan Gilbert needs to simply do what he has done his whole life. Be a good and persuasive real estate agent. He needs to look at the Cavaliers as the location and LeBron as the buyer, with the house being the roster he needs to win an NBA Championship. The location is not the problem, but the current Cavs roster is like a house that needs remodeled. I would compare it to the house in the Ice Cube movie “Are We Done Yet” in which Nick (Ice Cube) tries to renovate a beautiful home in the country for his family with Chuck (John C. McGinley). He needs to do a dramatic overhaul of this roster. This team ranked 26th in the Association in opposing points per game. This team was horrific to watch defensively. He needs to prove to LeBron that this time he is committed to surrounding him with talent of his caliber. Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman need to fight fire with fire. Koby Altman is a young GM, and not nearly to the status of what David Griffin was. Altman needs to show no fear. This Cavs team cannot look the same opening night as it did Friday Night. It can’t even look remotely similar! I’m not gonna go into detail of what I think the Cavaliers should do because that is a column for another time. You need to sell him on this house, by making sure the improvements are too his standard.
Dan needs to understand the pressure this man is under at this point in his brilliant career. LeBron has never been this close to surpassing Michael Jordan as the greatest player in the history of this sport. He is a lone title away, in my eyes, from being better than him. You have to show him your sensitive to that. You prove that by going out and making necessary trades, using the draft to your advantage with a loaded class, and making other pitches to big name free agents on the market with James. Finally, I think this is the biggest thing Gilbert should consider. Make LeBron a true partner in the franchise he made iconic just by him playing for it. Dan Gilbert has been on the record for saying he sees LeBron as a “partner” rather than just a player. Why not put your money where your mouth is and give him what we all know he deserves, stake in the franchise. Think of this pitch, “LeBron you have the opportunity to be alongside Magic Johnson as NBA players to get part ownership of a franchise”. LeBron, like Gilbert, is a prominent businessman and I can see that as being something that would intrigue him. He has been on the record saying he wants to own an NBA team and what a way to start right at the peak of his career coming off the best postseason and arguably individual season of his 15 year career!
Hopefully Dan Gilbert will realize this is what needs to happen. He needs to realize he needs to act quickly, before free agency begins. He needs to show he is in tune to LeBron’s goals in his career by realizing this current roster is not going to beat the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors in years to come.He must also prove he knows he is on a quest to catch the G.O.A.T., and will get him better ship mates so he can do it. Hopefully, he will close the deal and get LeBron James to buy the house, the one he built in Cleveland.
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Featured Image: (USA Today)