The Education of Dan Gilbert

We tell ourselves that with age people learn to see the bend and break in the road before it hits them and causes disaster. They mature and figure out the right way to do things before the crises happens. First, you need a vision and then a strategic plan. If things go wrong, accountability is a good place to start and you must have the self-awareness to look at your mistakes and see where you went wrong. Then, you need patience. You can’t go fast. John Wooden said be quick but don’t hurry. When you hurry, you make mistakes. And then, finally, you need to let everything play out over time, don’t make rash decisions.

Seven years ago, Dan Gilbert did none of those things. He wasn’t accountable. He didn’t look at his franchise in a realistic way so when LeBron James left, he not only had egg on his face, he had utter shock, and then his anger took him to a place he will never be able to dial back, that hate letter where he said the Cavs woud win a title before LeBron James would win a title. That was straight out of a third grade manifesto- you won’t play with me so I am going to have a temper tantrum.

Gilbert was predictable. He didn’t have patience. He hired Byron Scott. He fired him. He hired Mike Brown again. He fired him. He hired David Blatt. He fired him. Has Dan Gilbert learned anything at all?

Here he is again, a star player in revolt. Blame Gilbert in this way. Twice, he didn’t have the pulse of his team and the players on it. He is an owner who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He pays cheap, as if he doesn’t value the job of putting a team together. It cost him David Griffin, the best GM he has ever had. With the sucker punch of a Kyrie Irving trade demand, delivered with little humility, we will now see if Dan Gilbert has matured. Has he been given enough of a NBA education via LeBron James where he does not panic. He let’s time run its course.

The NBA has history in this, in unhappy stars. Kobe Bryant wanted to be traded and the Lakers tried to accommodate him but in the end a chastened Bryant stayed put. The situation is different with the Cavaliers.  Kobe felt the Lakers organization lied to him about doing whatever it takes to build a contender. Kobe didn’t trust them.

Kyrie’s angst is different. He wants to escape LeBron and Cleveland. He wants his own thing going on. He doesn’t want to be in anyone’s shadow. But the bottom line is the bottom line. Be patient. Buy. Don’t Sell.

The Cavs via Dan Gilbert have the same kind of situation as the Lakers had, a player under contract whose ego won’t allow him to tank games. Trade Kyrie if a deal comes up with draft picks, a young star and a veteran. Get over this Devin Booker crush. That isn’t going to happen.  But take advantage of Stan Van Gundy if you can and pull Andre Drummond out of Detroit, even if you’re forced to take malcontent Reggie Jackson. Drummond is worth it, a talented rebounder and defender.

The point is patience The hardest thing in life is having the patience to wait for the right moment. The right moment is not here. Not yet. Seven years ago, the right moment was the night of The Decision. That was the wrong moment to write a letter and make it public, spewing venom. Learning from mistakes is the key to self-awareness. Has Dan Gilbert crossed that bridge. Can he wait?

Kyrie would love to play in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Clippers, be the new Chris Paul. But there isn’t much on the Clippers roster the Cavs would want. And frankly, what Kyrie wants at this point is irrelevant. It is more about what the Cavs need for their future.

In the middle of all of it is Dan Gilbert who has a short window for a championship title to accompany his first. LeBron is either out the door or he is aging and needs another young star. The Cavs had a star. He is as good as gone and no one knows when Irving to _________ (fill in the blank) turns the page. Dan Gilbert and the Cavs are the same organization that drafted Anthony Bennett and traded Andrew Wiggins and Dion Waiters.

Has Dan Gilbert learned anything? Can we finally trust him? Has he graduated?


photo via llananba