Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called former player LeBron James’s departure from Cleveland “narcissistic” and a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own.” Now he wants James in a Cleveland tank-top again.
Despite the very public feud between Gilbert and James, the Cavs desperately seek to bring LBJ back home to Ohio.
“There has yet to be a firm indication that James is ready to leave Miami after four years and two championships with the Heat,” Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein write, “but sources told ESPN.com that the four-time MVP is increasingly considering the Cavaliers as an option as he moves into the final stages of deciding which team to sign his next contract with.”
Central to the Cavs pitch to James is the claim that they are acquiring the tools necessary to build around the star, such as young players Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, the top pick in last month’s draft. “The team also potentially will own three first-round picks in the 2015 draft,” Windhorst and Stein note.
But all this starkly contrasts with the very public separation LeBron James had with the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago. It is especially interesting in light of the public letter that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert posted to the team’s website at that time.
Gilbert publicly slammed LeBron for his own very public announcement that he was unhappy in Cleveland.
In his letter, Gilbert called James’ 2010 ESPN announcement that he was leaving the Cavs an “act of disloyalty” that was a bad example for children. It was also “heartless and callous,” Gilbert insisted. Gilbert guaranteed the Cavaliers would win a championship before “King James” did.
But now, as the Cavs try to convince James to return, Gilbert’s vitrolic letter suddenly disappeared from the team website.
The Cavs, though, dispute this interpretation of the disappearance of Gilbert’s harsh letter.
When asked about the disappearance of the letter this week, team director of communications Tad Carpenter said that there was no controversy. The only reason further deletions were made is because the team noticed a spike in web traffic to a page they claim they tried to delete “years ago.”Carpenter maintains, “Quite frankly, we weren’t looking for [the letter] because we knew we deleted it.”
Whatever the case, it is quite interesting that such harsh words from both sides can be so soon forgotten. Business, apparently, is business.
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