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Report: Dan Gilbert Believes He Can Build Championship Team Without LeBron James
- Updated: June 11, 2018
The looming free agency of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is something that will ultimately determine whether or not the team undergoes another roster overhaul during the offseason. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will undoubtedly play a key role in James’ final decision, but he appears confident that if James does leave, he’ll be able to put together another team built to contend for a championship.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on the network’s podcast, The Hoop Collective, and indicated that the prospect of James again leaving as he did in 2010 doesn’t scare Gilbert:
“Dan Gilbert believes that he can build a championship team without LeBron, and I think he is looking forward to trying,” Windhorst said. “I don’t think he necessarily wants it to be next year, but I think Dan Gilbert would like to make a run of it.”
Since James returned after playing four seasons with the Miami Heat from 2010 to 2014, the Cavaliers have reached the Finals every year. Two years ago, James earned NBA Finals MVP honors in helping the Cavaliers become the first team in league history to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit. More importantly, it marked the first title in the franchise’s history.
Gilbert’s bravado about being able to rebuild another powerhouse squad without James as the team’s cornerstone rings somewhat hollow based on his past actions. To start, James’ stunning free agent departure eight years ago for the Heat caused an angry Gilbert to deliver a bitter online diatribe directed at the future Hall of Famer.
Among the boasts offered by Gilbert at the time included a prediction that the Cavaliers would win a title before James and the Heat. By the time James returned four years later, Miami had won two titles and reached the Finals every year, with James twice winning Finals MVP after each of the wins. In contrast, the decimated Cavaliers collapsed, never coming close to the postseason and earning the top pick in the NBA draft three times.
The Cavs appear better equipped to withstand another departure by James, with a number of talented young players on the roster and the eighth overall pick in the upcoming draft. Still, keeping James in a Cavaliers uniform should remain the top priority since Gilbert’s track record doesn’t suggest that he has the ability to deliver as on his claims in the future.