Dan Gilbert’s kids returned from camp Friday and immediately asked their father: Is LeBron James going to Europe?
The Cavs’ owner took a step back, said LeBron wasn’t going anywhere and asked where they heard that. Everyone, they told him, was talking about it.
This did not exactly thrill Gilbert. He has more or less shrugged off as offseason gossip the rumors of a Greek team paying James $50 million a year in 2010.
”The reason this thing is where it’s at,” Gilbert said, ”is that we’ve got a bunch of bored, East Coast sports writers who have nothing to do because the offseason is a few months away and the Olympics [hadn’t] started yet.”
The story of Olympiakos making plans to land LeBron became the subject of much chatter last week. On Friday, the members of the ”Redeem Team” discussed the possibility in China.
Naturally, they said they’d have to consider an offer like that.
But Gilbert pointed out that James is not a free agent, he has never told the Cavs he does not want to stay in Cleveland and he can’t be a free agent for two years.
Gilbert also said he felt Cleveland and James were being focused on unnecessarily.
”The undertone to the whole thing that I wonder is, why him?” Gilbert said. ”Why not Dwyane Wade? Why not Chris Bosh? Why not whoever else is coming due?
”The only thing you can come up with is there are certain writers, or people who live on the East or West Coast, who think that Cleveland, Ohio, is not a good enough place for a superstar of LeBron’s caliber to spend his career.
”Despite the quality of the franchise, the quality of life in the Midwest, the fans — it’s a complete slap in the face from people who do not live in Cleveland, Ohio, to Cleveland, Ohio.
”That’s probably my biggest problem with the whole thing.”
”If he were playing for the Lakers or the Knicks or the Nets or Miami, what they consider glamour teams, I don’t think there would be any of this talk. And the proof of it is there. Because there’s not talk of any of these other stars.”
Michael Wilbon was on PTI calling the argument “bogus” because he said Gilbert deliberately didn’t mention Kobe Bryant (who has also gotten some of the Europe rumors directed his way). Which, of course, is bullshit. How many “Kobe to NYC” stories have we seen? How articles have we seen about Kobe’s (or D.Wade’s, or Melo’s) favorite cities/burroughs/sports teams?
Now, I don’t know why Gilbert didn’t mention Bryant, but I think it’s fairly obvious to anyone with a brain that he’s not just talking about the Europe speculation, he’s talking about all the various “LeBron to NYC” rumors we’ve seen since LBJ’s rookie year. Now, maybe he’s not allowed to comment on other teams or what not, or maybe it was just an off the cuff rant that wasn’t planned out (ie: he didn’t deliberatly forget to mention Kobe), but he has a point.
I’m just glad someone who isn’t a jackass blogger actually made it.