Baron Davis: Dan Gilbert Wouldn't Let Me out of Cavs Contract If I Joined LeBron

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Baron Davis dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, April 1, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers governor Dan Gilbert's bitterness about LeBron James leaving the team in 2010 apparently extended well beyond his "Comic Sans" letter.

Baron Davis, who played for Cleveland in 2011, revealed that Gilbert would not allow him out of his contract that offseason because he didn't want Davis helping James win a championship.

Baron Davis @BaronDavis

I remember Dan Gilbert sent a message to me he wouldn’t let me out my deal if I went to play with LEBRON!!! Facts. He knew that where I was going so they played hardball... he said if I went to play with LEBRON he would win a title. I told him LEBRON gonna win one anyway. 🤦🏾‍♂️

The Miami Heat were coming off their embarrassing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals, and Gilbert was likely basking in the glow of schadenfreude following LeBron's failure.

Davis, at that point, was seen as a potentially solid role player despite knee injuries sapping him of his effectiveness. He wound up signing with the New York Knicks after receiving the amnesty clause from Gilbert, lasting 29 games before suffering a career-ending knee injury.

LeBron, of course, wound up reconciling with Gilbert enough to return to Cleveland in 2014 and brought home the 2016 NBA championship.