Cavs Owner On LeBron, Blatt, Luxury Tax

The Cavs still hope to reach an extension with Tristan Thompson before Friday’s deadline, owner Dan Gilbert told reporters today, including Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, confirming a detail from the latest dispatch on the former No. 4 overall pick. Gilbert also touted GM David Griffin for the Executive of the Year award, talked up the importance of the extension Kyrie Irving signed as soon as he could earlier this summer, and had much more to say about his team, which went from the lottery to a title favorite in mere months. Haynes has the entire transcript of Gilbert’s press conference, so it’s certainly worth checking out, and we’ll pass along Gilbert’s most noteworthy comments here:

On how he perceived his chances of swaying LeBron James to return this summer:

“Of course you never know these things until you’re in front of somebody. But I felt good about it. People have things that happen between them. I certainly don’t keep grudges. He’s not that kind of person, and I don’t think most people are generally, there is a few that are like that, but most people aren’t. There is just too much to do, too much opportunity together that we could work on together, leverage together. So from the second that I went down to Miami I felt like things were going to go on the right path, though we didn’t know until we got the phone call, but it felt pretty good from the second I saw him.”

On hiring David Blatt, after having cited Blatt’s intelligence and coaching track record:

“One of the other major factors was we talked to virtually every single NBA player who was either in the NBA now or was at one point and played for him overseas. And to a man, they raved about him. And that’s really a rare thing when you’re interviewing anybody in business or sports. That every single person you talk to raves about him and says the exact same thing. So that sort of put us over the top.”

On whether he’d shy away from paying the luxury tax:

“That message is unchanged, clearly the cap will be going up in the next couple of years based on the revenues of the league as well, but that message is still there. I think that when you have so much invested, if you want to look at this financially and take away the other stuff, I almost think it’s kind of silly when you invest so much into a franchise and have such high costs already, and then at the margin, I know it’s a lot of raw dollars when you look at it by itself, but relative to everything that’s invested, I was a little bit surprised when our franchise was going to stop right there. To me, it’s like getting to the two‑yard line, and okay, we’re done now. I think it’s not even smart business or maybe not even smart financially, because there is obviously risk involved. But when you’re willing to do that, theoretically, your revenues can offset part of that as well and increase in revenues. Definitely, when the decisions are ours and they’re regarding financial, that should not stop us or be any significant barrier to delivering championship‑caliber basketball here.”

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