Over the past several months, Dan Gilbert has spent a lot of money to ensure that the Cleveland Cavaliers enter the 2015-16 season with aspirations to win a championship.
Prior to Friday night’s game versus the Miami Heat, the Cavs owner commented on the fact that he has committed to spending $175.6 million on payroll this season, with $65 million of that in luxury taxes:
“We’re committed; we’re all-in … When you invest in something like a sports franchise and you’re in for so much … if you at the margins start pulling back, I think that may be foolish on a lot of fronts … We’re investing for the future as well as the current.”
Since the end of last season, Gilbert has signed Kevin Love to a $113 million deal, LeBron James to a $47 million one and Tristan Thompson to an $82 million contract. When factoring in other players of Cleveland’s core, the Cavs owner has locked up players to nearly $300 million since the end of last season.
Once again, Gilbert defended his decision to spend money on Cleveland’s unit:
“These guys who are under these large contracts, that’s a core for four or five years. That’s an eternity in this league. As we’ve seen with NBA franchises, that formula can work.”
There is little doubt that the Cavs are the powerhouse team in the Eastern Conference. Following a season in which they zoomed through the Eastern Conference playoffs despite serious injuries to Love and Kyrie Irving, they return in 2015-16 as the favorites to win the NBA Finals.
However, if Gilbert’s spending is to truly be justified, the Cavaliers can’t just be paper champions—they’ll have to win it all.