Although fooled from time to time, I usually consider myself a good judge of character, which is why I was pleased when I read the report Tuesday afternoon from “Yahoo Sports,” which stated that according to their sources the Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer willing to take part in a four-team trade that would send Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets. As Sports Director for Metro Networks in Cleveland, I interviewed Cavaliers Majority Team Owner Dan Gilbert countless times and he always came across as a man of principles. The report that the Cavaliers will not be a link in the chain to get Howard to Brooklyn, confirms in my mind, that Gilbert not only talks the talk, but walks the walk as well.
We live in an age of far too many sheep and far two few shepherds, it is far easier to follow the crowd tha to blaze your own trail, but Gilbert has never traveled that path. His entrepreneurial skills kicked in while he was an adolescent, starting a pizza parlor and delivery service out of his parent’s kitchen, until authorities shut it down for not having the proper permits.
A bright, industrious and savvy young man, Gilbert became very wealthy at an extremely young age through hard work and making good decisions. A true basketball junkie since he was a kid, he would fulfill every fan of the Association’s greatest fantasy by purchasing the Cavaliers in 2005. Since taking over the club, he has shown he is in it to win and he has also been a major force in helping the city of Cleveland regain their financial footing.
The Cavaliers Owner has always been against so-called “Super-Teams,” so it puzzled me why he would be part of a transaction that would build one in Brooklyn, as well as help the already talented Los Angeles Clippers, as they would receive MarShon Brooks in the proposed deal. Monday night I posed that question to some friends as well as some fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the Internet and was really not pleased with the responses I received.
Two old friends, who are die-hard Cavaliers fans and well versed in the NBA, told me in separate conversations that they believed that Gilbert was help complete the deal out of vengeance, to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Although I understand the rationale behind that thought process; that any enemy of my enemy is my friend, it is an emotional response instead of a wise business decision. It would build an opponent in the Cavaliers conference that could impede their getting to the NBA Finals, once their rebuild is complete.
Any time that any business guided by emotion rather than sound business practices, that business will self-destruct. Whether it be a company that manufactures widgets, or an NBA franchise, a company can not allow their emotions to determine the moves they make, they have to stick to a game plan and keep anger or panic out of the equation.
The other response that I received from a fan of the Cavaliers was that Howard was going to end up in Brooklyn, regardless of whether Cleveland is in the deal or not, so the team may as well get something out of it. I actually, was more troubled by this response than I had been by the previous one; because it was just another case of the end justifying the means. Principles and convictions can be put aside, when ever it is convenient for one to do so; a mind-set that is far too prevalent in our society. Disregard everything I have previously stated or stood for, because I can benefit from the situation.
The person that I believed Dan Gilbert to be would not do that and as I wrote at the top, I am truly glad that he confirmed my beliefs by making this decision. Thank you Dan Gilbert, for not allowing the end to justify the means.