Report: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert believes he can build championship team without LeBron James

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

In his infamous letter published shortly after LeBron James left Cleveland in 2010, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Of course, Gilbert was wrong. LeBron led the Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013. The Cavs won in 2016 – only after LeBron returned.

With LeBron again looking like he might leavebecause of Gilbert, no less – Gilbert apparently hasn’t lost his confidence.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Dan Gilbert believes that he can build a championship team without LeBron, and I think he is looking forward to trying. 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.

This isn’t surprising. Billionaires tend to hold extreme self-confidence, even when succeeding in only one field.

Gilbert is a tremendous businessman. Does that mean he can assemble a championship basketball team without LeBron? Probably not.

In the 12 full seasons since he bought the Cavaliers, they’ve succeeded with LeBron and failed miserably without him:

Gilbert’s desire to have the last laugh is evident in Cleveland keeping the Nets pick instead of flipping it for a player who could help them compete this season – which might have convinced LeBron to stay. The Cavs chose to hedge and be better prepared for a post-LeBron world.

They won’t necessarily dive into competing immediately if LeBron leaves. Kevin Love isn’t good enough to lead a championship team, and the Cavaliers are too capped out to add help. They’d probably trim payroll and escape the luxury tax for a bit.

And maybe they get lucky and win the lottery nearly every year.

But even if that happens – again! – I still wouldn’t trust Gilbert to build a title team.

What to Read Next