Dan Gilbert

Central Notes: Garland, Bulls, GRIII, Cavs

The Bulls‘ reported interest in Darius Garland may be a smokescreen, one source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. That source believes Chicago is more focused on forwards like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, or Sekou Doumbouya.

Garland is expected to be selected with the No. 4 overall pick in tonight’s draft, so the Bulls would need to put together a package that entices the Pelicans in order to land him, assuming their interest is real. Even if Chicago managed to add Garland, the team would look to bring in a veteran point guard, a source tells Cowley.

Patrick Beverley could be an addition this offseason, as there are reports of mutual interest between him and the Bulls. Chicago wants to add depth, so the club could sign multiple players in free agency. Cowley names Ish Smith and Cory Joseph as potential targets in addition to Beverley.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will likely decline Glenn Robinson III‘s team option for the 2019/20 season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free press tweets. A source also told James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link) that the option is unlikely to be picked up. The Michigan product would have earned slightly below $4.3MM next season if the option was exercised.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is out of the hospital and will undergo “intensive” rehab, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays on Twitter. Gilbert suffered a stroke late last month.
  • The Cavaliers have hired Jazz assistant Antonio Lang as an assistant coach on John Beilein‘s new staff, per the team’s website. Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that Cleveland was prying Lang from Utah.

Central Notes: Bulls, Gasol, Cavs, Pacers, Pistons

There’s a growing belief around the NBA that the Bulls are open to discussing trades for anyone on their roster – and any assets they hold – besides Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., sources familiar with the team’s plans tell Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Still, while the Bulls will likely consider a number of trade options this offseason, Mayberry makes a case that the club shouldn’t part ways with the No. 7 overall pick. Mayberry argues that cashing in their chips now for a veteran could be both premature and risky for the Bulls, who would have marginal assets available going forward. Plus, the No. 7 selection has proven valuable for the franchise in recent years — Markkanen and Carter were both selected at that spot.

Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tackles a handful of Bulls-related topics in his latest mailbag, exploring draft, trade, and free agency options. Johnson believes the Bulls would “absolutely” try to get involved as a facilitator in a multi-team Anthony Davis trade, and later suggests that if Chicago pursues an RFA point guard, Malcolm Brogdon is probably a more realistic target than D’Angelo Russell.

Here’s more from around the Central:

Central Notes: Gilbert, Turner, McMillan, M. Williams

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert won’t be involved with the team’s draft preparations as he continues to recover from a stroke, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Gilbert is still in a Detroit-area hospital, and Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner issued a statement today suggesting that the recovery might be lengthy.

“Dan’s recovery is a process that will take time — but we are all confident that he will meet this challenge head on as he always does,” Farner wrote.

Sources tell Fedor that Gilbert has already approved an aggressive spending plan if GM Koby Altman believes it’s necessary to improve the team. That includes taking back a sizable contract to get rid of J.R. Smith, who was exiled from the team after playing just 11 games this season. Cleveland owns picks No. 5 and 26 in the draft and will reportedly try to buy into the second round.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Competing for a spot on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup tournament will give Pacers center Myles Turner another shot to gain recognition after being left off the All-Defensive team, notes Scott Agness of The Athletic. Turner led the league in total blocked shots with 199 and blocks per game at 2.7, but didn’t receive first- or second-team honors. Two of Turner’s teammates, Lithuanian center Domantas Sabonis and Canadian guard Cory Joseph, will be in China for the tournament.
  • Pacers coach Nate McMillan was slated to be an assistant to Gregg Popovich on Team USA, but he withdrew after Indiana was scheduled for a trip to India in early October, Agness adds in the same piece. The World Cup title game is September 15, and McMillan wants to focus on his NBA responsibilities. “My first priority is the Pacers,” he said. “I committed to USA Basketball before I got the schedule next season for us.”
  • Former Heat guard Matt Williams was invited to a free agent mini-camp with the Pistons, tweets Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Williams appeared in three games as a two-way player for Miami during the 2017/18 season before playing this year in Finland and Greece. Forward Marc Loving, formerly of Ohio State, also received an invitation (Twitter link). He played in the G League this season.

Dan Gilbert Hospitalized With Stroke Symptoms

8:53pm: Gilbert is awake, responsive and resting comfortably after a catheter-based procedure for a stroke, per a team release relayed in a tweet by Marc Stein of The New York Times.

8:58am: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was admitted to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital in Michigan early on Sunday after suffering symptoms of a stroke, according to a report from Nolan Finley and Kim Kozlowski of The Detroit News.

Gilbert’s family requested privacy, so details on his diagnosis and prognosis weren’t made available. However, a statement issued by the Quicken Loans group on Sunday indicated that Gilbert is on his way to making a recovery.

“He received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably,” the statement indicated. “Our collective thoughts and prayers are with Dan for a speedy recovery.”

Gilbert has been the Cavaliers’ majority owner since 2005, overseeing most of LeBron James‘ two stints with the franchise. Under Gilbert, the Cavs have made the NBA Finals five times and won their first title in 2016. The club invested especially heavily in its roster during the 2015-18 run of four straight Finals appearances, with Gilbert footing significant tax bills.

Dan Gilbert: “We Killed It” In The Kyrie Irving Trade

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert continues to insist that his team got the better of the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston before the start of the 2017/18 season, relays Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.

Irving still had two years left on his contract when he asked for a trade to get him away from the team’s uncertain future in the wake of LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency. The Cavaliers agreed to his demand, getting Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a draft pick that became Collin Sexton.

“It becomes a melting snowball,” Gilbert said. “We had to trade him when we did. What team would want Kyrie with only one year on his contract knowing he could leave after the season? You won’t get much back (under those circumstances).”

In addition, Irving’s agent implied that if the trade demand wasn’t met, his client might undergo knee surgery that would keep him out for most of the year. Irving wound up having two operations on his knee last season and missed the playoffs.

Gilbert expects Irving to move on again when he becomes a free agent this summer.

“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” he said. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves (GM) Koby (Altman) made, we killed it in that trade.”

Gilbert shares his views on a few other topics in the same story:
  • James comes with “a limited shelf life” because of his age and contract situation, Gilbert said. LeBron reached the NBA Finals in all four years of his most recent stay in Cleveland, but was never willing to sign a long-term commitment, giving himself flexibility to leave if he didn’t like how the team was being run. “It’s a win now at all costs,” Gilbert said. “… It all revolves around the sun, which is him. Whatever pressure comes with it, it worked out. We won a title.”
  • Gilbert denies that he was responsible for the decision to hire Michigan’s John Beilein as the team’s new coach. He said Altman came up with the idea and led a group of eight front office representatives who met with Beilein. “All eight loved him,” Gilbert said. “All eight wanted to hire him. They were polled individually. That caught my attention. This was a week before I met with John.” He also called the financial aspects of Beilein’s new five-year contract “very reasonable.”
  • Unlike when LeBron left in 2010, Gilbert knows there’s no chance he will return someday to resurrect the franchise. So the focus now is creating a successful organization from scratch. “We have to build a culture and a team, beyond just adding a lot more talent,” Gilbert said. “I really believe in this front office and the coaching staff. We are putting together a team based on culture and character.”

Stein’s Latest: Beilein, Lakers, Rockets

John Beilein, who recently accepted the Cavaliers‘ coaching position, strongly considered the Pistons‘ job last offseason, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his latest newsletter. Beilein passed up on the chance to become an NBA head coach then but couldn’t pass up the opportunity this time around in part due to Dan Gilbert. The Cavs owner has a reputation for his willingness to spend when necessary in order to win on the court.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest piece:

  • The Lakers did not formally offer their coaching job to Monty Williams before Williams signed on with the Suns, Stein hears. Williams ultimately decided to go to Phoenix before the competition between he and Tyronn Lue was complete. Stein also hears that Kurt Rambis and Linda Rambis were the strongest supporters of hiring Williams and the couple was the loudest influence when it came to hiring Frank Vogel.
  • Not offering a five-year deal to Lue—a coach that won a championship with LeBron James—was a major mistake for the franchise, Stein opines. Los Angeles only offered Lue a three-year deal, something that Lue had to see as disrespectful.
  • The Rockets may be limited in what they can spend, but don’t count out GM Daryl Morey when it comes to making major moves, Stein contends. Houston doesn’t have much flexibility with regard to signing free agents, as it has roughly $116MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season. However, we’ve seen Morey pull of unlikely trades in the past, as he did with Chris Paul.

Bickerstaff, Other Candidates Could Join Beilein’s Staff

New Cavaliers coach John Beilein is expected to meet with former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff to gauge Bickerstaff’s interest in becoming his associate head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Bickerstaff met with Cleveland’s front office and was also a candidate for the Lakers job before they hired Frank Vogel.

Bickerstaff may not be the only candidate the Cavaliers interviewed who could potentially join Beilein’s staff. They will likely hire at least one other from that pool, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland stunned the basketball world on Monday by plucking the 66-year-old Beilein out of the college ranks and naming the University of Michigan head man as its head coach.

GM Koby Altman conducted an extensive search, interviewing at least 10 other candidates, mostly NBA assistants. Among that group, Alex Jensen (Utah), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas) and Jordi Fernandez (Denver) are candidates to wind up on Beilein’s staff, as is Nate Tibbetts (Portland), who was expected to get an interview until the Cavs focused on the Wolverines coach.

Beilein is on board with having seasoned NBA assistants on the bench, Vardon continues, but wants to chat with potential candidates to find out which would be the best fits.

Vardon also added these nuggets in his story:

  • There was already mutual interest between the Cavs and Beilein when assistant GM and West Virginia alum Mike Gansey visited his former college coach at the Final Four in Minneapolis on April 6. Beilein was not viewed as a leading candidate for the job at the time mainly because the Cleveland brass doubted Beilein would leave Michigan.
  • Altman and his staff quietly interviewed Beilein last week. Later in the week, Beilein met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who lives in suburban Detroit. Beilein emerged as the Cavs’ choice after that meeting.
  • The youth and fluidity of the Cavs’ roster intrigued Beilein. It gives Beilein a chance to mold the team to his liking, as he’s done previously in his college stops.

LeBron’s Return And The Kyrie Irving Trade

The Cavaliers believed LeBron James was eventually headed to the Lakers as far back as 2016, but they missed an opportunity to send him off with another championship by mishandling the Kyrie Irving trade, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

Irving and the Cavs were both trying to protect themselves from the fallout of LeBron’s departure, Lloyd adds. Irving submitted a trade request that eventually landed him in Boston. Cleveland’s front office started the rebuilding process by making the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder the key part of an otherwise underwhelming package from the Celtics that also brought Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a second-round pick in 2020.

James was criticized for not reaching out to Irving and trying to change his mind about leaving the team, but he doesn’t believe he could have made a difference.

“I think by the time it got to me he wanted to be traded, I think he was already gone,” James said. “He was already gone and it was up to the organization to do their job and try to keep him as well. The guy still had two years left on his contract. They didn’t have to give him up. It could’ve been repaired then. Bring him in, let’s see what happens. I don’t think his stock drops if he still comes to Cleveland, see what happens and at the trade deadline you could still do it then.”

The Cavaliers were able to make their fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals without Irving, but they were swept by the Warriors. Lloyd recalls that many of the Cavs’ players thought Golden State was beatable last year, but they didn’t have enough star power to make it happen.

There’s more from LeBron’s triumphant return to Cleveland:

  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert opted to skip Wednesday’s game, Lloyd adds, which underscores the state of his relationship with James. Although Gilbert’s reaction to James’ departure this time was more dignified than the letter he wrote in 2010, the relationship between owner and player has never fully recovered.
  • James received a loud ovation from Cavaliers fans during pre-game introductions and was grateful for a highlight video the organization put together, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The video highlighted James’ accomplishments on the court and in the community, including the I Promise School that his foundation helped to establish. “They did it the right way,” Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson said of the video. “I think everyone understood and was almost like, We appreciate this guy, he’s given us so much, he’s given us everything he’s got, so we appreciate it. If he wants to move on and start another chapter in his life, we’re all for it.'”
  • Last night’s warm reception was a stark contrast to how James was received when he returned to Cleveland with the Heat, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. In 2010, James was viewed as a traitor by fans and was portrayed as a villain by the team. “From the time we landed yesterday, it just felt a different way,” he said. “I’m a different person. We’re all different from eight years ago, I think, both good and bad.”

LeBron: Kyrie Trade Was Beginning Of The End In Cleveland

With LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland right around the corner, Joe Vardon of The Athletic revisits the 2017 trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston and contributed to James’ decision to leave the Cavaliers for the Lakers in 2018. As LeBron tells Vardon, the Irving deal with the Celtics helped signal the end of an era in Cleveland.

“Everyone knows that when Kyrie got traded it was the beginning of the end for everything,” James said. “It’s not a secret.”

In his account of how that Irving deal got done, Vardon writes that James spoke on the phone to Cavs general manager Koby Altman the day the trade was agreed upon. Vardon cites four separate people present for the conversation who say that – at the end of the call – Altman told LeBron the trade wouldn’t happen. However, the deal was completed shortly thereafter.

Cavaliers officials who spoke to Vardon denied that Altman gave James any assurances that the deal wouldn’t happen, adding that Altman asked LeBron if he’d commit long-term to the Cavs if they kept Irving, and he said no. In any case, James doesn’t feel as if Altman lied to him, according to Vardon — instead, the GM may have simply been overruled by team owner Dan Gilbert.

“You realize at that point in time, take nothing from Koby, because Koby (was just named GM),” LeBron said. “But at that point in time, you realize that Koby’s not the only one running the team, as (former GM David Griffin) had done, and that’s why Griff was let go pretty much.”

While the Cavaliers still earned a spot in the NBA Finals without Irving, they were quickly dispatched by the Warriors, prompting James to seek a new challenge in free agency. Now a Laker, the four-time MVP will make his return to Cleveland this week, with the Cavs scheduled to host the Lakers on Wednesday.

As for Irving, he declined comment today when asked about his response to James’ comments, telling reporters that he’s done talking about his time in Cleveland (video link via Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston).

Eastern Notes: Boylan, Hornets, Saric, Yabusele

Former Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against the franchise, which the team has labelled “frivolous” and a “shameless cash grab,” according to an Associated Press report. Boylan, 63, worked five seasons under former coaches David Blatt and Tyronn Lue but did not have his option picked up this summer. Boylan contends GM Koby Altman told him owner Dan Gilbert wanted a younger coach.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hornets have used a committee approach at the center spot and that position is likely to remain in flux, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Starter Cody Zeller, Willy Hernangomez, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky and Bismack Biyombo have all taken turns in the middle but first-year coach James Borrego isn’t worried. “We’re still searching (but) I like the dilemma I have,” he told Bonnell.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is allowing forward Dario Saric to work through his shooting slump, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Saric has scored in single digits in each of the last three games while shooting 2-for-13 from long range. Brown has no plans to reduce Saric’s workload. “If he came to me and said, ‘I need some time,’ I would listen,” Brown said. “But I don’t feel like I’m force-feeding anything, I do not feel like I’m hurting him. In fact, I feel like I’m helping him.”
  • Guerschon Yabusele’s option was picked up for next season because his game fits the modern NBA, according to coach Brad Stevens, and the Celtics believe the 22-year-old has high upside, the team’s PR department tweets. Boston’s brass decided to retain Yabusele despite a cap hit of $3,117,240, a figure that could grow if Boston pays the luxury tax. The 6’8” Yabusele has played just 18 minutes this season after seeing action in 33 games in his rookie campaign. But with several players hitting the free agent market next summer, the Celtics felt Yabusele was too valuable to give up, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald notes. “Having Guerschon gives us continuity. He knows our system,” GM Danny Ainge said. “He’s loved by everybody. It’s just not easy to find that type of player.”