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Dan Gilbert sounds more reasonable now, but he can't get the high ground back

Jul 12, 2010, 2:07 PM EST

dgilbert.jpgDan Gilbert flew off the handle Thursday night and said some things he’d like to take back. We’ve all been there.

We also know you can’t take them back. You live with it. Gilbert got personal in calling out LeBron James, gave up the high moral ground and lost any chance to be the sympathetic figure in all this.

Gilbert spoke with Ian Thompson of Sports Illustrated after sleeping on it for a few days, and if he sounded like this the night of the incident, he might have garnered that sympathy.

“We really believed until the end that he was staying,” Gilbert said. “We were pretty shocked, to be honest with you.

“When [LeBron and his advisers] announced they were going to do [the team presentations] in Cleveland and not go on their tour, for us that was another sign that this guy and these guys can’t muster enough energy to go on the road — how is he going to move? Going through the process, we felt really good. We felt our meeting went good, and we had another meeting at his house 10 days or two weeks before that.

“The last few days when it got set up in Connecticut [to broadcast his announcement], we couldn’t figure it out. It was just very bizarre. Why is he going to the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn.? We started thinking to ourselves, it doesn’t make sense. We can’t think he’s going to go on national TV and build it up and humiliate and disgrace Cleveland, Ohio, by saying he’s leaving. The only way he comes out of this positive is if he announces he’s staying, because otherwise he’s going to destroy himself. That was our thought process. We knew it was more than a 50-70 percent chance he was going to stay.”

They were wrong. Then Gilbert was wrong calling LeBron narcissistic and cowardly. LeBron made his choice, and while you can question how he went about the announcement, the choice was his.

Gilbert even said Cleveland would win a title before Miami.

“I know I made that crazy promise,” the Cavaliers’ owner said of his response to the departure of LeBron James, “but it was more of a rallying cry to get people to rally around that message.”

That doesn’t mean he is backing off that promise, though.

“I don’t think their experiment is going to work,” he said. “But that’s just me. I just don’t see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James gelling together on the court.”

Seems reasonable. Now. But it’s too late.

  1. Lion Woods - Jul 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    David Stern… meet Dan Gilbert. and the fine is in the amount of $_______________________. It would seem appropriate. After all he is hurting the NBA brand overall and painting a bullseye on the back of LeBron labeling him a benedict arnold among other things.

  2. OR - Jul 12, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Man Up Dan. LeBron outsmarted you at your best game.
    MAN UP and Move On!

  3. Liz - Jul 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    The owner is an idiot. His comments were insane & unprofessional. He went on and on about the best player their fanchise ever had. Who would want to work for someone like that? Mr. James made the right decision. I’m sure this idiot’s rants further validated that. I feel sorry for the rest of the team and the city. They don’t seem to be left in stable hands.

  4. Bri - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    The Caves designed their entire team about LeBron. They offered him more money. The Cavs want a Championship.
    They nearly made it last year. Probably would have if LeBron didn’t either have the worst game of his career or throw the game.
    LeBron thanks them by playing games with fans in 6 cities for 2 months and then doing a 1 hour special for his announcement.

  5. David - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    If your company just lost about $200 million in market value OVERNIGHT, how would you feel?
    Gilbert is still a douche
    Lebron will RULE in MIAMI. Take that to the bank, Dan.

  6. johnmaine - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Carmelo Anthony gets married, LeBron gets booed, Chris Paul refers to New York’s “own big three”: http://bit.ly/9DQNZm

  7. Greer Brody - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I couldnt agree more

  8. Bob Magee - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Nice to see I’m not the only one who thinks the NBA ought to fine Gilbert.
    Problem is, the damage has alraedy been done to the NBA brand and to the brand of its most known player by Gilbert.

  9. Lakergirl - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    I am not a fan of Lebron and yes, the way he went about the whole “decision” was kind of F****d up, BUT, he is sick and tired of pulling ALL the weight!! I do believe he deserves to get a ring and obviously it was NEVER going to happen in Cleveland, he knew that, so good luck in Miami. Remember, the Lakers are the defending champs it will not be easy, GO LAKERS!!

  10. Yesse Yackson - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    I don’t care! That honky-crackin’-fool is still RACIST! He’s a Grand High-Poobah in the KKK! Gotta be! A white man in charge of a group of black men?!?! SLAV’RY!! Modern SLAV’RY!!
    Come on Al, wake up! We got these uppity white devils up to no good again…

  11. Jeremy - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    nah, it’s not too late. People in the public eye have done & said much much worse and have been able to move on.

  12. Mad Jesse - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I don’t care! That honky-crackin’-fool is still RACIST! He’s a Grand High-Poobah in the KKK! Gotta be! A white man in charge of a group of black men?!?! SLAV’RY!! Modern SLAV’RY!!
    Come on Al, wake up! We got these uppity white devils up to no good again…

  13. alquaso - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    I think Lebron owes Cleveland nothing.Have you seen Ohio.

  14. Cire - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    You got that right LW. Gilbert should be fined big time. It’s called FREE Agency, Danny boy. And that means it’s his decision, and he doesn’t have to clear it with you first. So you reply by calling him a quitter? Step up David Stern and hand out the STUPID COMMENT THAT HURTS THE LEAGUE fine to owner Gilby.
    One other perspective – Gilby also damaged the Cavs by his lame comments. What top free agency (Carmelo, were you listening – ?) is gonna want to go to Cleveland to play for an owner like that. Uhhh – pretty quite out there, no see any takers. So, to summarize, Gilby fires Coach Brown, blows it with Lebron, then scorches the earth in Cleveland with stupid comments so that no one else will want to go there. Oh well, sorry Cleveland.

  15. HTT - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    I can’t speak for everyone in Cleveland as much as I can’t say what I would do if I were Lebron, but I was 25 once and I made my share of mistakes. There will always be people who can’t get past this, but for many Clevelanders we realize Lebron developed and executed a plan that he believes helps him achieve his goals. Who can rightly criticize him for that? In some respects I applaud him for taking less money in order to play on a team. My only hope is that he realizes he made a mistake in how he handled the situation. America has shown a willingness to forgive and I hope Lebron is man enough to admit a mistake, so he can return to being a welcome and adored son of Akron Ohio. It would be good for him and good for his family in the long run.

  16. Lion Woods - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    LeBron can hardly be classified as an impovershed slave. As for Gilbert he was out of order. But making $16, $17 million per year doesn’t qualify as sweatshop conditions. Sorry.

  17. bill - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    We see fans say atheletes are “traitors” all the time when they execise their right to move on.
    Not that Im a great admirer of LeBron, but he spent sevens years in Clevland, seven WINTERS in Clevland. In Feb in Miami the girls are wearing thongs, in Feb in Clevland people are wearing parkas. Where would you rather play ?
    Im not crazy about LeBron’s TV show, or some of the things he did. I dont think Miami is a gimmee for the title, but I do think he has a right to play where he wants.
    While this last year, the franchise made an effort to put a team around him, the past seven years in total looks pretty ineffective. Teams only have so many years with a star, and then through injury, age, or contract they move on. So you better try to grab that championship while you can.

  18. TK - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I don’t get it – if Dan Gilbert really thinks that Lebron tanked in the playoffs, why would he have even offered a max contract to begin with? And being so full of principals as he is, the second Miami came to him with a sign and trade he jumped on it. When Lebron acts best for Lebron, he’s Benedict Arnold. But when Dan acts best for Dan, he’s a proud owner? Ha !

  19. Mike - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Anyone who watched the playoff games, and specifically LeBron during his career could easily see that he wasn’t being himself. It looked at if he was trying to throw the game. Now we know why. All the talk about James loving Cleveland and Akron and everything he did in Cleveland was pure BS. He made his mind up well before the playoffs and that is why he threw the Boston series. If the Cavs would have won the championship this year, Lebron couldn’t have claimed he was leaving to win a ring, or anything else. In fact, the entire time he claimed that his elbow was hurt, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. There probably never was anything wrong and it was all just a ploy to have an excuse for losing.
    Fact is that he’s a loser on the court for the last 7 years with no titles and now he’s a loser in real life with his self promoted special and his self title, the “King”. He’ll need to win a lot of rings before he is up there with the greats, let alone the best.

  20. rocky - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    hey alquaso i have seen it have you??? proably not or you just seen the steell mills where hard working men and wowen are …..not like a bunch of pansies living in miami . i guess it was ok for lebron for 25 years!!

  21. C10 - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    LeBron disgraced the NBA more than Gilbert did. Gilbert displayed more honesty and passion than was seen on LeBron’s television debacle. Did he go too far? Perhaps. But I’d take an off comment in a moment of emotion and passion over a calculated action to debase a franchise, piss off a host of cities, and devalue the other players in the NBA.

  22. Cav Forever - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Couldn’t agree more with Bri’s comments. Lebron went about this all wrong by humiliating Cleveland and the entire Cav fan base. What he should have done is take Cleveland’s 6 year $125M+ contract with the stipulation that he could opt out after 2 years if they didn’t win an NBA championship. What he did is disappointing not so much in leaving Cav Land (even though it is hard to comprehend), but how he went about it. As for Dan G., you have to support his vision for Cleveland, and his desire to have a winning franchise. While he may have overspoke in his initial frustration with Lebron’s decision, his heart certainly is in the right place for Cleveland and for Ohio. Best of luck to Lebron, and, certainly let’s hope that the Cavs can rebuild a championship caliber team for Dan G. and the thousands of Cav fans that can take it to the Heat! In spite of all that has transferred with this for the current Cav players, you have our full support and we look forward to the future with you!!

  23. Lou - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Can anyone really blame him for leaving Cleveland? What have they won? And it is his fault? Ya right! That dude had him for 7 years. Time is up! Now the pressure is on Miami. Produce or be flamed! I cannot for the life of me see them winng anything for a couple years. Teams win, not superstars. For every superstar, there has to be a Curt Rambis or a Ron Artest. Guys who are willing to do anything to win. Miami have that? Nope. Will they? You can’t just snap your fingers. Takes time. but I wish them luck. Might give my Lakers some competition!

  24. TdUB - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Mike, If I found out before a game that the same people I called my family was banging my mom, I wouldn’t be myself either! I heard everyone knew but him and it was more than delonte!!!! You spend a lot of time with your team and this is how you do me. Oh yeah, his mom was wrong too. If I was lebron, I would have rather it been the whole cleveland browns team than my teammate!!!

  25. Moron Spotter - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Who cares what people who aren’t paying customers think?

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