Dan Gilbert has done just about everything possible to convince LeBron James to remain in Cleveland.
In the last two years alone, he has opened up his wallet to sign Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, and traded for Shaq. He has given his blessing to G.M. Danny Ferry to make aggressive deadline deals to improve the supporting cast surrounding LeBron.
And until last night, LeBron has always done his best to show his gratitude by laying it all on the line for the Cavaliers’ owner.
Gilbert didn’t see much of urgency from his superstar or his teammates in the 32-point drubbing to the Celtics, and took the opportunity to address the lack of effort after the game.
While Gilbert stopped short of criticizing LeBron, he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “The last two home playoff losses and the manner in which we lost these games does not come close to being anywhere near the high expectations all of us have of our organization. Our fans and supporters deserve more.”
Not exactly a Cuban-esque rant to be sure. But Gilbert isn’t exactly Mark Cuban. He is presence at games, but keeps a respectable distance and doesn’t meddle in team affairs.
The series is certainly not over, but it’s difficult to imagine the Cavs winning back-to-back games against a Boston team that isn’t likely to make mistakes for long stretches.
The news now turns to what is actually going on with LeBron.
Brian Windhorst, the Plain Dealer’s beat reporter covering the Cavaliers, authored a gem of a story after last night’s loss. The piece addressed the Cavs’ sudden lack of chemistry, Mike Brown’s ineptitude, and LeBron’s lack of interest.
Windhorst echoed his sentiments early Wednesday morning on SportsCenter, when he said that LeBron’s coaches, teammates, and friends have never seen this side of him and are searching for answers.
He also said that when he asked LeBron if something else was bothering him, and LeBron supplied the simple answer: “I don’t make excuses.”
Without reading too much into a question, one that another reporter asked during the postgame press conference Wednesday, it seems as if that was strange way of answering a fairly simple question.
One can’t help but wonder if the next shocking sports story is about to break.