|Cavs owner focused on getting team title|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 20 May 2008 09:52|
It's possible he never leaves home, too.
Although some anxious Cleveland fans are worrying about their megastar's long-term future, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert isn't sweating it.
He's got James for two more seasons. Maybe more.
``We have no reason to doubt LeBron James or any player and their commitment to be with the Cavaliers based on the organization we built and are building,'' Gilbert said Tuesday, two days after the Cavs were eliminated from the playoffs with a Game 7 loss in Boston.
``It (James leaving) is something I don't worry about it, because we do the right things. We're trying to build a top-notch franchise in every way.''
James, who scored 45 points in Sunday's loss, has two years left on his contract. After next season, the Cavaliers can offer him an extension. If he doesn't accept it, James could become an unrestricted free agent after the 2009-10 season. There is already speculation that the Knicks are clearing their books to take a run at James in the summer of 2010.
During a season-wrapup teleconference, Gilbert addressed several topics including Cleveland's rollercoaster season as defending Eastern Conference champions, an important offseason ahead to add talent around James and his faith in GM Danny Ferry and coach Mike Brown.
Gilbert also challenged NBA commissioner David Stern, who believes some NBA teams have gone overboard with their use of pyrotechnics and loud music during games.
Before Game 4 of the Cavaliers-Celtics series at Quicken Loans Arena last week, Stern called the use of flames and fireworks ``ridiculous ... a kind of assault that we should seriously consider reviewing in whether it's really necessary given the quality of our game.''
Gilbert felt Stern's remarks, which came after a playoff game in New Orleans was delayed by a fire-ring malfunction and after Cleveland's Ben Wallace said smoke from a pregame display in Boston triggered dizziness and forced him out of Game 2, were too broad.
``I disagree with him,'' Gilbert said. ``Our stuff (pyrotechnics) is way high up. You can't take a broad brush. ... I wasn't happy that the comments were made in Cleveland by the league.''
Gilbert pointed out that Cleveland fans have responded favorably to the club's game-night theatrics, which include fire-spewing swords on the scoreboard, explosions during player introductions and high-volume music intended to keep the crowd's energy up.
As for himself, Gilbert said he was still ``depressed'' following the Cavaliers' 97-92 loss, ejecting them from the postseason two rounds earlier than a year ago.
Gilbert felt the Cavaliers would advance, but despite what could be considered a regression, Gilbert feels his club, which was reconstructed by a colossal trade in February, is closer to winning a championship than last year's squad.
``I think we had better team chemistry,'' Gilbert said. ``All things being equal, I do think we're closer (to a title). You get one or two little things go differently and you're in the Eastern Conference finals and anything can happen from there.''
The Cavaliers must improve to reclaim the East. After losing to the Celtics, James made it clear he wants the team to find him some help this summer.
``We need to continue to get better. We know that,'' James said. ``If that means some personnel changes that need to happen, then so be it. The teams around us in the league are continuing to get better.''
The Cavaliers have yet to bring in a second dependable scoring option, a ``sidekick'' for James, who scored 77 points in the final two games against the Celtics while his teammates pitched in with 84. And Gilbert disputed the necessity of needing more than one star to win it all.
``There are a lot of ways to get to a championship,'' he said. ``Do you call (San Antonio's) Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sidekicks to Tim Duncan? I don't think so. There's a lot of ways to win a championship in this league. We're going to find a way - that's for sure.''