Gilbert says Cavaliers ‘killed it’ in trade of Kyrie to Celtics

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert believes the team did well for itself in the Kyrie Irving deal of 2017.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert thinks general manager Koby Altman “killed it” in the Kyrie Irving trade and doesn’t think Irving will return to the Boston Celtics in free agency.

“It becomes a melting snowball,” Gilbert told Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com in an exclusive interview. “We had to trade him when we did. What team would want Kyrie with only one year on his contract knowing he could leave after the season? You won’t get much back (under those circumstances).”

“The agent was telling us, if we don’t trade him, there is some surgery he is on the borderline of having on his knee. It was possible he could be out for most of the year. It turned out to be true.”

With those things in mind, Gilbert said the Cavs got as much back in return as they could for Irving. Today, that return is point guard Collin Sexton and backup center Ante Zizic. Irving is an all-star but many around the league (including his own teammates) have called him flaky, difficult. He now is a free agent again, and may be looking to move on again.

“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert said. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves Koby made, we killed it in that trade.”

Gilbert also talked on LeBron James’ departure, saying the franchise was better prepared for it this time around. James will be 35-years old in December and wasn’t going to be around forever anyway, so the team had already started some contingency plans.

“With LeBron, there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment,’’ Gilbert said. “It’s a win now at all costs. … It all revolves around the sun, which is him. … Whatever pressure comes with it, it worked out. We won a title.”

The Cavaliers hired former Michigan man John Beilein as coach, and he is viewed as a culture-builder, teacher and someone who is well-respected by the players.

“This narrative that I drove this (Beilein hiring) is wrong,” Gilbert told Pluto. “A few weeks ago, Koby brought up John to me. I obviously knew who he was, but I never met him. Koby put the bug in my ear, and I became very interested.”

3 Comments on "Gilbert says Cavaliers ‘killed it’ in trade of Kyrie to Celtics"

  1. Those comments by Gilbert are sad. What’s worse is he may truly believe it. SMH

  2. not sure how real it was, Krymie to bucks for middleton, brougdan, and Henson would have been killing it. cavs moved too fast, could have gotten better return.

  3. Philip Rusch | May 24, 2019 at 10:43 am |

    It’s not so much the Cavs won as Boston lost because Kyrie didn’t get them in the Finals. Gilbert embellished the Kyrie deal by including Nance and Clarkson. But the Lakers had those contracts priced to sell in order to clear up cap space and weren’t looking for an even exchange. In addition to the first round pick, what that situation has to do with Kyrie, I have no idea. Also, I don’t even know if Gilbert is aware of it himself, but I’m sure the Cavs would have been perfectly fine in developing Nikola Jokic if they had selected him over Joe Harris in 2014. In addition, the Tyus Jones-Cedi Osman trade was not a win at all costs trade either. The Cavs had to wait a year on Osman and then he backed up LeBron James in his first season.

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