I must admit, there are not many physical similarities between new New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and usually out of view Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. One is an enormous Russian who makes videos of himself doing back-flips on jet skis, and the other is the reserved guy who is interviewed by Austin Carr or Campy Russell once or twice a year.
We know relatively little about both, but after hearing about Prokhorov's plan of action for owning the Nets, it seems we are already seeing that happen in Dan Gilbert.
Prokhorov is planning on taking a backseat to whatever new GM and coaching staff that he hires for a few years to learn the intricacies of running a basketball team.
He started off by blowing up the previous front office staff in Kiki Vandeweghe and, will start from scratch with his own team of guys to make the right moves for him, until he is ready to take control. Until that time, he will be a figurehead and financial support to the team.
Now, Dan Gilbert and his buddies bought the Cavs in 2005 fired the coaching staff and the front office, and promptly brought in his own team of guys he knew could run a successful organization (sound familiar?). Mike Brown, and quickly thereafter, Danny Ferry came to the team via the San Antonio Spurs.
From there, he took on the role of student of the game and learned about running a basketball organization in coalition with his prowess in business and basically took on the job of financial support and keeping everyone in the organization happy.
His main goals, win championships and keep LeBron James happy. Those two seemingly, at the time, went hand in hand.
Gilbert, and the ownership group, have made it no secret that they are willing to spend with ferocity in order to win, just like the money-drenched Prokhorov.
Up to this point, everything that Gilbert has been actively involved in has turned to gold, from his founding of Rock Financial (eventually sold and renamed Quicken Loans) to his many other business ventures since 1985.
It seems now, that Gilbert, while enjoying his team's run in the past five years, isn't content with the front office that seems to be a good one to win games, but not championships.
Gilbert knows this is a risky move, after the decision to let Ferry go he said, "You've got to be willing to take some risks, calculated ones, and make changes when they're necessary."
From here, Gilbert will probably go out and hire his own head coach, independent of the new GM Chris Grant, and it will most likely be a guy we have seen coaching a championship team before.
He will probably make an offer to Phil Jackson, but he won't leave for Cleveland in all likelihood. Other greats he could go after could include Larry Brown or possibly Rudy Tomjanovich or Billiy Cunningham (who was able to bring Dr. J his elusive NBA title) out of retirement.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks will obviously help LeBron decide whether to stay in Cleveland or leave.
In any event though, look for Dan Gilbert to be a much more active person in binging in his coach, and his people to run the organization.
I don't yet believe that Ferry's departure signals chaos in Cleveland, merely a changing of the guard. It is a signal that Dan Gilbert is ready to take over in Cleveland.
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