Cleveland.com had a solid Q&A with Dan Gilbert last night. Here are some of the better parts --
On LeBron James leaving --
A lot of people think 'We need an owner who can write a check.' There's a lot of owners that write a lot of checks. Some are more frugal than others or whatever, but you really have to create an environment, culture, get the great people, the right people. [And] just as important as getting the right people is getting rid of the wrong people. . . .
"Everything's philosophically driven. We just say, 'Look, if we can create the best environment, the best franchise, a winning franchise in a city that I think loves its sports teams, then we're in the best chance and opportunity to not only keep our greatest people but to attract others.' . . . To me, it'll take care of itself.
On what the franchise would be worth if LeBron did leave --
The truth is, I just don't even think of that that way. This is a long-term investment. We want to make the Cleveland Cavaliers a perennial champion and contender. We want people to be part of the franchise for long periods of time if they fit our culture, no matter who they are, whether it's LeBron or anybody that contributes. . . .
"I haven't really gone through and literally said that if our superstar weren't to be here what would [the franchise value] be the next day because in the one-in-a-million chance that that would happen, that wouldn't be the time you would be evaluating that anyway." (Laughs)
On the financial environment in the NBA --
The entire NBA and us are more concerned about next year than this year because you had the economy continue to deteriorate, but season tickets are almost committed a full year in advance and corporate accounts are sometimes [a] year to three out, and suite levels are long contracts. This year, our revenue will, frankly, be an all-time high for Cavaliers revenue, but the bigger concern is what happens next year. Obviously, the further we get and more successful we are, we can fight that through our success on the court, but it's always a concern.
On Mike Brown --
"I think I've interviewed probably 1,500 people in my 24-year business career. There's nobody to this day before or after that I came away more impressed with than this guy. He just had every tool in the toolbox. He's real, he's honest, he works his tail off, he's smart. He's a phenomenal people person. He's got a strong ego, so he doesn't do the things that people that don't have ego do. . . .
"Let's talk about us being in the finals two years ago. Go take a look at that roster and tell me if we had any business being in the finals. He is as good as it gets and he's only 39.
On which NBA Owner he is closest with --
I'd have to say Mark Cuban. Whether you agree with everything he does or not, at least he cares. A lot of times you can't tell from certain owners whether they even care. I think that's the biggest complaint of fans is the apathy.
On the comparisons between this year's Cavaliers and the 2007 NBA Finals team --
It's not even close. Besides the talent being much better, the chemistry with the guys is just off the charts. These guys really, really like each other. There's no spectacle-makers on the team. There's no troublemakers. They genuinely love each other. They love the fans and the organization and they're a team. And you can see LeBron and look at all his quotes and comments throughout the years, [and] you can see him evolving as this leader. It would have been hard for him to really lead the team a couple years back with some of the people. The chemistry wouldn't have worked. . . .
On team chemistry --
"It's the magic dust. Everybody thinks it's the stuff [James] throws up, but that's not it."
Dan Gilbert doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for being a top-notch owner in sports. Perhaps a NBA Title would go a little ways towards changing that.