Dan Gilbert is the Worst Owner in the NBA
Dan Gilbert has done it. He’s now passed James Dolan, Vivek Ranadivé, Tom Benson, and Glen Taylor for worst owner in the National Basketball Association. Yesterday, it was reported that Cavilers Owner Dan Gilbert and General Manager David Griffin have agreed to part ways. This blog is not meant to be an overreaction to this news. In fact five days ago, I wrote a blog saying how David Griffin should be blamed for the Cavaliers underwhelming Finals Performance https://medium.com/@peterbobrinskoy/david-griffin-deserves-blame-for-finals-loss-73a0ff79e03f . However this blog’s goal is to show how yesterday’s news is just another reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers are the worst run team in basketball.
This Dan Gilbert guy has done absolutely nothing but get ridiculously bailed out by the NBA’s very flawed lottery draft system over the years. Dan Gilbert is not a smart owner, he is not even a competent owner. However what he is now, is may be the luckiest owner in all of sports. Since 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been giftwrapped four #1 overall draft picks and Dan Gilbert has done everything in his power to screw it up. In his 12 years owning the team, he has fired five coaches (one of them, he fired two different times) and also fired four general managers. Not only is he terrible at hiring people but he is also incredibly impatient after he hires them. In 2014, after he rehired the same head-scratching coach in Mike Brown that he already fired, he gave Brown a five-year deal, then fired Brown again after only one year. In 2016, after David Blatt came off taking the team to the NBA Finals, then had the best record in the East midway through the season, Gilbert fired Blatt after only a year and a half on the job.
So now it comes to David Griffin. Why was he let go yesterday?! 24 hours ago, he was making calls on trying to get Paul George or Jimmy Butler in a Cavaliers jersey and then six hours later he is no longer apart of the organization? What good sports owner lets that happen? Also, the NBA draft is in two days! The Cavaliers are now going to throw their new general manager (whoever it is) into the lion’s den, give him a couple days to scout college prospects and then have him make a major decision on the team’s future. What is Dan Gilbert thinking?
The problem with Dan Gilbert is not that he is cheap or that he does not care about winning. The problem with Gilbert is that he is absolutely terrible at hiring people and is incredibly impatient. He thinks an NBA team can win on a consistent basis if they are being led by a revolving door of head coaches. One of the few differences between James Dolan and Dan Gilbert is that James Dolan has never been rewarded for his incompetence. The Knicks who do a terrific job at putting a horrendous product on the court every single year, last won the NBA lottery in 1985. The Cavaliers on the other hand…..
Now the problem with this blog is that Dan Gilbert has a ring. He is partially responsible for bringing Cleveland their first sports championship in 52 years. That city was so miserable for so long and he brought them their happiness back. That means a lot and there is no denying that. However the other side to that is this: When arguably the greatest basketball of all time decides to rejoin one’s team and has three additional #1 overall draft picks to go with him, one championship is simply not enough. The fact that the Cavaliers are not set up to be a dynasty already is absurd and that falls directly on Gilbert. It is even more absurd that it looks like Lebron James may leave the Cavaliers before they win another championship.
Remember the summer of 2014 when the Warriors were smart enough to resist a trade for Kevin Love and decided against giving up Klay Thompson to get him? Do you also remember in the same summer of 2014 when the Cavaliers made the mistake the Warriors did not and decided to trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love? The Golden State Warriors were in the Finals this past season because of their efficient front office and revolutionary head coach. The Cleveland Cavaliers were in the Finals because of their dumb as hell luck in the NBA lottery. In almost every single area of how a basketball team should be run, the Warriors are better in every way than the Cavaliers.
Last week, when there were rumors of Lebron James potentially leaving for another team in a couple years, it seemed ridiculous that he could make the same mistake twice. Now….. Not so sure about that. It would make complete sense if Lebron said to himself, “I did what I wanted. I returned to the city I once deserted, brought them their first championship in 52 years, now I want to get away from this mess.” The Cleveland Cavaliers do not deserve Lebron James. May be the fans of Cleveland do, but Dan Gilbert certainly does not.