Cavs Notes: Gilbert, Irving, J.R. Smith, Lue

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a nine on a scale of one to 10 in terms of an owner’s involvement in his team, with the ubiquitous Mark Cuban a 10, a prominent agent tells Brian Windhorst of Gilbert was the only Cavs representative in his pitch meeting to LeBron James when the four-time MVP was a free agent last summer, and the owner was alone with GM David Griffin when they helped convince Kevin Love to accept a trade later this past summer, according to Windhorst. Gilbert insists he’s not so hands-on, but his ballooning net worth and willingness to spend it on the Cavs has played a major role in the team’s rise to prominence, as Windhorst details. Here’s more from around Cleveland:

  • Kyrie Irving hasn’t had nearly the trouble meshing with James as Love has, Fred Kerber of the New York Post examines. That’s surely a relief for the Cavs, who committed a five-year extension to Irving this past summer that won’t kick in until next season.
  • The Knicks’ division championship of two years ago is but a memory to J.R. Smith, who isn’t high on the return the Knicks got when they traded him to the Cavs in January, as Kerber notes in the same piece. “It seems extremely distant, like one of the first years I was in the league, that’s how far back it seems,” Smith said. “Honestly, I don’t really think about it. If anything, it’s their fault for making a bad business move, I guess.”
  • Assistant coach Tyronn Lue has been instrumental in keeping the Cavs’ locker room together, as Kevin Arnovitz of writes in an Insider-only piece that tabs Lue as one of the league’s top head coaching prospects. Cleveland made Lue the highest-paid assistant of all-time this past summer. “He respects the work that’s required to do the job and he has the gift of being able to verbalize things to players in a straightforward way without being offensive,” said Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, Lue’s former boss. “He sees things in games a lot of people can’t see. He’d see opportunities for us — in games, watching film, observing — and would bring them to me. He has a chance to be very special.

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