LeBron James will return to Cleveland on Thursday night for the first time since he joined the Miami Heat this summer and famously "took his talents to South Beach." On the night of LeBron's infamous decision, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert shamelessly attacked James calling him "narcissistic" and guilty of "cowardly betrayal."
Whether or not one believes LeBron's actions involving "The Decision" were egotistical or disloyal to the city of Cleveland, Gilbert clearly stepped over the line in his scathing attack on James' character. Apparently, NBA commissioner David Stern agreed and immediately took action against Gilbert by fining him $100,000.
Now, Dan Gilbert who has been relatively quiet concerning the matter of LeBron's exit in recent months is making waves once again. Gilbert has hired a Midwestern law firm to investigate whether the Miami Heat broke NBA free-agency tampering regulations by communicating with players still under contract. Before the July 1st free-agency period began, no team representative from the Miami Heat could discuss any potential signing of LeBron James or Chris Bosh who were still technically under the rights of Cleveland and Toronto, respectively.
According to a recent report from Yahoo!, "Gilbert will spare no expense to uncover whatever evidence he can to take to the league office." The NBA only begins tampering investigations following formal requests from another team. The Cavaliers owner plans to delve into any records possible to demonstrate that the Heat broke NBA regulations in their plan to bring James, Wade and Bosh to South Florida.
When confronted with the report, Gilbert declined to comment about his efforts to investigate the Miami Heat's actions. However, Gilbert did state, "I'm over it. I really am. That's the truth. I let it all out in about 24 hours. I just think we have such a great core and a great coaching staff. We have a lot of opportunities with the trade exception and the draft. I feel good about this team."
Gilbert's actions simply don't match his comments that he is over LeBron James. He is acting like a jealous ex-girlfriend stalking her former boyfriend's new love interest. Clearly, Gilbert wants to punish LeBron James and the Miami Heat in anyway possible even if that goes so far as to delve into Pat Riley's phone records, e-mails and travel documents.
Here's a piece of advice for Gilbert: Don't just say you're over it. Move on.
Whether Gilbert and Cleveland want to remember the LeBron James era fondly is their choice. LeBron James single-handedly won hundreds of games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and brought them to their first and only NBA Finals, but if they are still bitter about the way in which LeBron left it is understandable.
However, bitterness will not improve the Cavaliers record. It will not win them any games or take them back to the period when the Cavaliers were a relevant contender. Hopefully, after LeBron James makes his return to Cleveland for the first time Gilbert and Cleveland will finally let him go. If not, they are doomed to live in the past.