Cavs Rumors: Dan Gilbert Thinks He Can Build Champion Without LeBron James

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert answers a question about Cavalier player Kyrie Irving's demand to be traded, during a news conference at the Cavaliers training facility in Independence, Ohio, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Phil Long/Associated Press

Even if LeBron James declines his player option and leaves in free agency, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert believes the organization can remain competitive.

"Dan Gilbert believes that he can build a championship team without LeBron, and I think he is looking forward to trying," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective (h/t Ryne Nelson of Slam). "I don't think he necessarily wants it to be next year, but I think Dan Gilbert would like to make a run of it."

James has a player option worth $35.6 million to remain with the Cavaliers.

Realistically, if the superstar decides to leave, the Cavaliers will likely begin a rebuild right away.

"There isn't one player on that roster who is guaranteed to be back next year," Windhorst added, via RealGM.

Gilbert apparently believes the organization could be a championship contender following a fresh start.

The Cavaliers haven't shown this in the past, though. They had zero championships prior to 2016 and never reached the NBA Finals when James wasn't on the roster.

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During the four years when the forward played for the Miami Heat, Cleveland didn't win more than 33 games in a season.

The Cavaliers were fortunate in the lottery with three No. 1 picks, selecting Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. The first two might have helped create a playoff team, but it's unlikely the squad would have been a title contender without James.

Still, rebuilding efforts have been successful in the past, and Cleveland will hope it can start over and turn things around quickly if LeBron does find a new home this offseason.

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