Dan Gilbert

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.”

Central Notes: Cavs, Boylan, Bulls, Bucks

As if there wasn’t enough drama in Cleveland already this season, the Cavaliers are now the subject of another unusual story. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays, former Cavs assistant Jim Boylan has sued the team, along with owner Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman, for age discrimination.

Boylan’s lawsuit claims that Tyronn Lue left Boylan a voicemail informing him that Altman and the Cavaliers wouldn’t be picking up his option for 2018/19 since they wanted to “go younger.” Boylan subsequently had a conversation with Altman during which the GM confirmed that the Cavs wanted a younger coach, suggesting that the decision to move on from Boylan had nothing to do with his performance, per the suit.

The Cavaliers responded to the lawsuit today, calling it “frivolous” and referring to it as a “shameless cash grab.” Pointing out that Boylan simply had an option declined and wasn’t fired, the Cavs’ statement accused the assistant coach’s lawyers of attempting to shame the franchise into a settlement by releasing Lue’s voicemail.

As we wait to see what tomorrow brings in Cleveland, let’s round up a few more Central notes…

Dan Gilbert Issues Statement On LeBron James

Eight years after putting out an angry statement in which he guaranteed that the Cavaliers would win a championship before “the self-titled former ‘King'” did, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has issued a more measured, thoughtful response to today’s news that LeBron James would once again be leaving Cleveland. For starters, this one isn’t written in Comic Sans.

[RELATED: LeBron James to sign four-year deal with Lakers]

Here’s Gilbert’s statement in full, via the Cavs’ website:

“We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see… A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed.

“Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio.

“None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

“LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.

“LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line….”

Latest On LeBron James’ Future

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert cannot offer LeBron James a stake in the franchise in an effort to retain his services, Michael McCann and Jon Wortheim of Sports Illustrated point out. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits players from holding direct or indirect interest in the ownership of a team, thus the NBA would not approve a contract with any type of ownership provision, the story continues. The league has also been vigilant in preventing players and owners from intermingling their business interests, the SI duo notes. James can opt out of his contract or try to force a trade to a desired destination this summer.

Here’s some other interesting notes regarding the possibility of James playing elsewhere next season:

  • The Rockets would need to either gut their roster or make a trade with the Cavaliers to add James, but the latter option is complicated by the team’s roster composition, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Cavaliers would likely want quality young talent to kick-start a rebuild in any James trade and the Rockets don’t have enough of those players while trying to match up salaries to absorb James’ $35MM contract, Feigen adds. The most desirable option for the Rockets is to dump Ryan Anderson‘s contract ($20.4MM next season and $21.3 MM in 2019/20) on a team with ample cap room, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. But Houston probably doesn’t have enough first-round picks to package with Anderson to get a third party to bite, Pelton adds.
  • There are major obstacles to any possible pursuit of James’ services by the Celtics, DJ Bean of NBCSports.com notes. It’s highly unlikely that Boston would include Gordon Hayward in any deal, considering the high-level free agent chose Boston last summer and hasn’t even played a full game with the franchise, Bean continues. There’s also the sticky problem of trying to reunite James with Kyrie Irving, who asked out of Cleveland last summer. Acquiring James now would likely damage the team’s long-term prospects for being the dominant team in the league, given the assets they’d likely have to trade, Bean adds. Logically, the only big contract the Celtics would be willing to move is Al Horford‘s deal, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
  • James’ decision will have more to do with his family than basketball, former teammate Dwyane Wade predicts, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald writes. “I don’t really think for him the basketball decision is ‘Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.’ I think at this point in his life it’s more so of a lifestyle thing,” Wade said. “Where is my family going to be the most comfortable at? Where am I going to be the happiest at? Because basketball-wise he’s so great, he can take along whoever.”
  • The Lakers and Sixers are the favorites to land James while the Cavs are just a 5-1 shot to retain him, according to Bovada sports book, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The odds rundown can be found here.

Central Notes: Brown, Pistons, Gilbert

In some relatively serious off the court news, Bucks’ rookie Sterling Brown plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department as a result of being tased and arrested in January, reports Gina Barton and Ashley Lutheran of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The police released the body cam footage of the incident during a press conference earlier this evening, and as one can see, the video doesn’t really demonstrate the Bucks’ guard acting wrongfully in any way, with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett even going as far as saying the officer’s actions against Brown made him uneasy.

“It was a disturbing video when I saw it, and I know that the police chief (Morales) feels the same way,” Barrett said yesterday. “And I don’t know exactly what actions his department is going to take, but it is disconcerting to see some of the actions in that video.”

Brown and the Bucks have since released statements, with Brown saying, in part:

My experience in January with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody. What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tased, and then unlawfully booked. This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.

During today’s conference, police chief Alfonso Morales said that the officers involved “acted inappropriately” and “were recently disciplined,” but did not take any questions from reporters.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Amid a time of uncertainty, Pistons’ general manager Jeff Bower continues to operate business as usual, taking control of the front office until told otherwise, reports Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Bower’s contract expires on June 30, and the team is considering a pool of candidates to run the front office.
  • One silver lining of the Cavaliers’ relative struggles this postseason is more profit for owner Dan Gilbert, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. The Cavs have already played eight home games this postseason, matching their total from all of last year’s playoffs. Home playoff games can net a team upwards of $3MM per contest.
  • In other Pistons news, Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets that coach of the year candidate Dwane Casey is highly likely to be considered for the team’s open head coaching vacancy, while a decision on the front office should come in early June.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Parker, Korver, Bulls

Despite Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeting that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was not the primary object of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert’s frustration over the failed trade that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City last summer, Oladipo implied that Gilbert’s comments add some extra motivation for Indiana in its first round series against Cleveland, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said after the Pacers win in Game 1. “But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”

As for the series itself, many observers declared Oladipo to be the best player on the floor during Game 1, even with LeBron James on the other sideline. Oladipo credits his team’s effort – something seemingly often lacking for Cleveland – for his and the Pacers’ success this season.

“We’ve been playing like this all year,” he said of the Pacers. “Been playing hard on both ends all year. It just hasn’t been magnified. So it’s the playoffs now, we’ve been doing this all year. Now everybody sees, so it’s like, it’s kind of shocking to everybody, I guess you could say. But we’ve been playing hard. We’ve been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks almost pulled out a victory against Boston in Game 1, but forward Jabari Parker wasn’t much of a factor in his first career playoff game, going 1-for-5 with two points in just 15 minutes of action. Per Nick Friedell of ESPN, Milwaukee is confident Parker will bounce back in Game 2.
  • It’s been a tough last couple of months for Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver, writes Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer. Korver tragically lost his younger brother Kirk due to complications from a sudden illness in March, then missed additional games with a right foot injury upon his return to the team. The 37-year-old veteran is ready for Game 2 though, saying “I feel like it’s been a very complicated month in my mind, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m ready to play.”
  • Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago take a stab at grading the 2017/18 Bulls backcourt and frontcourt in two separate articles. Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, both frontcourt players, received the best grades on the team.

Cavs Notes: 2018/19 Roster, Gilbert, New Additions

During their first round of trade talks leading up to the deadline, the Cavaliers’ front office was opposed in some discussions to taking on future salary, multiple league executives tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN. However, the deals that Cleveland ultimately completed saw the team take on significant multiyear commitments — George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance will earn a combined $33.77MM in 2018/19, while Rodney Hood will be in line for a raise via restricted free agency.

As Windhorst details, the Cavs’ overall team salary and projected tax payments for next season will hinge on whether Hood is re-signed and – of course – on whether LeBron James returns. But if the club brings back both of those players, its total bill for 2018/19 could exceed $300MM, according to Windhorst, whose projections include a $12MM salary for Hood and a $4.4MM salary for the player selected with the Nets’ pick, currently set to be No. 7.

A lot could change between now and next season — not only do we not know exactly what the Cavs’ roster will look like, but the salary cap and luxury tax lines for next season won’t be set until the summer. Still, there are certain scenarios in which Cleveland’s 2018/19 roster could be its most expensive squad yet.

Here’s more on the Cavs, including a couple more tidbits from Windhorst’s piece:

  • As they evaluated the Cavs’ deadline deals, some rival executives believed that preparing for James’ departure was a motivating factor, says Windhorst. Keeping the Nets pick and taking on some younger talent that can be retained beyond 2017/18 set Cleveland up for LeBron’s possible departure, and ownership wouldn’t have to break the bank in that scenario. However, multiple Cavs executives insist that’s not Plan A, telling Windhorst that owner Dan Gilbert remains committed to paying the necessary cost to win.
  • Following Cleveland’s Tuesday win over the Thunder, head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, that the Cavs’ new additions have been better than he expected. “It’s changed our team, and we’re a lot faster,” Lue said. “Now I think we’ve got a chance to switch a lot of things with our size and our length. We can switch stuff defensively. I thought it would be a process; it’s still going to be a process. … But they exceeded my expectations.”
  • James was a member of a “Big Three” for several years in Miami, then again in Cleveland. When they traded Kyrie Irving last offseason, the Cavaliers looked to acquire a player capable of slotting into a “Big Three” spot alongside LeBron and Kevin Love, but Isaiah Thomas didn’t live up to that billing. Now, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes, the Cavs’ latest moves have James adjusting to life without a Big Three.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Altman, Gilbert, Irving

The Cavaliers have struggled for the better part of 2017/18 and while they do, tensions continue to mount between LeBron James and the franchise’s management, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes.

Even before the club’s moribund loss to the Magic on Tuesday, Lloyd pulled the curtain back on the NBA’s most dysfunctional family in the days leading up to the trade deadline.

Here are some highlights lowlights from the worthwhile read:

  • The root of the Cavs’ problems, Lloyd says, can be traced back to two key issues that unfolded during the offseason. First and foremost, the club’s decision to part ways with woefully underpaid general manager David Griffin, and secondly, the Kyrie Irving trade that shook the foundation of the roster.
  • While James was vocal about his support for Griffin, team owner Dan Gilbert ultimately gave the job to young, in-house executive Koby Altman. Altman, Lloyd claims, is widely regarded as not ready for the task ahead of him.
  • The Griffin decision wasn’t the only time the Cavs went against James’ wishes during the offseason. They opted to sign draft-and-stash prospect Cedi Osman rather than pursue James’ preferred target, veteran Jamal Crawford.
  • One of the most substantial moves the Cavs made was to deal Irving after his trade request, fearing that his value would decrease if they waited closer to when he hit free agency (in the summer of 2019). James was convinced that he could mend his relationship with the young point guard if only the club held on to him long enough to go through training camp with the team.
  • According to Lloyd, James essentially has no relationship with either Gilbert or Altman. Griffin would often consult with LeBron and keep him apprised of major roster decisions, but that’s no longer happening — James was informed of the Irving trade about 20 minutes before word of the agreement leaked.
  • Multiple sources confirmed to Lloyd that James “cursed toward at least two team executives” during the now-infamous team meeting that began with players questioning Kevin Love‘s absence from a practice.

Cavs Rumors: Nets Pick, Thompson, J.R. Smith

Most teams in the Cavaliers’ situation would do all they can to improve this year’s roster in an effort to make a deep playoff run and convince their free-agent-to-be star to stick around, even if that means putting the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick on the table in trade talks, Sam Amick of USA Today writes.

However, there’s a growing narrative that owner Dan Gilbert – perhaps due to emotional baggage related to LeBron James‘ 2010 departure – is prepared to keep that pick even if it means losing James this summer, according to Amick, who suggests that Gilbert “wants his team back.”

Within his USA Today report, Amick provides a few more Cavs-related tidbits, writing that the team is trying to shed the Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith contracts. The Cavs have also not offered more than their own 2018 first-round pick and unwanted salary to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, says Amick. That’s not surprising, as we heard earlier today that Jordan isn’t the type of player for whom the Cavs would surrender the Nets’ pick.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs currently sit just five games ahead of the ninth-seeded Pistons in the East, closer to missing the playoffs than they are to the No. 1 seed. Still, the idea of somehow falling out of the playoff picture isn’t one head coach Tyronn Lue is willing to entertain — Lue says there’s “no doubt” the Cavs will make the postseason, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com relays.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a closer look at the Cavaliers’ trade deadline options, noting that adding salary will be tricky due to repeater tax concerns.
  • At Cleveland.com, Vardon also discusses the Cavs’ luxury tax problems, suggesting that if LeBron James leaves as a free agent this summer, Dan Gilbert will want to make sure that team salary gets out of tax territory. According to Vardon, league sources also believe that Cleveland would try to trade Kevin Love if James leaves, though no team sources confirmed that.
  • Seth Walder of ESPN.com makes the case that the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick is actually a little more valuable than people think, even though it probably won’t land as high as Brooklyn’s last couple first-rounders have.
  • Appearing recently on NBA TV’s The Starters, former Cavs GM David Griffin dismissed the notion that LeBron James wants to be heavily involved in personnel decisions for the franchise, as Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports writes.

Cavs Rumors: Thomas, Gilbert, Frye, Wade

Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Isaiah Thomas shared his two cents on a handful of topics, suggesting that he has received a disproportionate amount of blame for a struggling defense that has been ranked in the bottom five all season, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Thomas also bristled at the idea that anyone with the Cavs would be questioning his shot selection, and said that he hasn’t been approached about coming off the bench, calling the idea “disrespectful.”

While Thomas remains in the starting lineup, head coach Tyronn Lue has experimented with a new rotation in an effort to stagger the minutes that Thomas and LeBron James play. As McMenamin details in a separate story, the former Celtic has no issues with that strategy.

“We talked about it, so I think that needs to happen,” Thomas said. “My minutes just can’t be with LeBron at all times. We got to play to our strengths. Just like Chris Paul and James Harden, they don’t play together at all times.”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • In an in-depth piece for Bleacher Report, Ken Berger passes along several interesting tidbits on the Cavs. Among those details: The Cavs didn’t initially communicate to their players why Kevin Love left last week’s loss to Oklahoma City or why he was absent from practice the next day; Thomas and owner Dan Gilbert are said to be close, and frequently exchange calls and texts; Gilbert appears to be playing a much larger role in roster decisions than he was when David Griffin was the team’s GM. “The word is out that Dan is running things,” one rival executive told Berger. “Frankly, that’s where he’s happiest and the role he’s most comfortable in.”
  • Channing Frye‘s expiring contract and his modest role in the Cavs’ rotation make him a prime trade candidate as the deadline nears. However, Lue was against including him in a near-trade for George Hill, league sources tell McMenamin. As long as he remains in Cleveland, Frye will do all he can to help the Cavs win, but he knows there’s still a chance he’s sent to the Kings or another team, joking that his pay checks will “transfer to Sacramento” if it comes to that. “If they feel like George Hill or if they feel like Anthony Davis or whoever else is out there they’re trying to get is going to upgrade them? Do it. I understand,” Frye said. “So there’s no personal or hurt feelings.”
  • Dwyane Wade has rejoined the Cavaliers after taking time off to mourn the death of his friend and agent Henry Thomas, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Wade won’t be at 100% though, as he’s dealing with a previously undisclosed left shoulder injury, Vardon writes.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com identifies 10 trade candidates who could make sense for the Cavaliers.