Dan Gilbert's 23-Year-Old Son Grant Reportedly 'Next in Line' to Run Cavaliers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

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

Grant Gilbert, the 23-year-old son of Cleveland Cavaliers governor Dan Gilbert, has reportedly assumed a larger role within the organization since his father's stroke in May 2019 and is "next in line" to take over the franchise.

Multiple sources confirmed the eventual succession plan to Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic on Tuesday.

"He's definitely gonna take over," one source said. "His dad's not able, and he's the next in line."

Another added Grant, who serves as the club's director of content and brand strategy, is already "running the show behind the scenes," while a third source noted he's got "zero experience" in leading such a large operation but has been seeking increased responsibility.

The Cavs "vigorously refute" any plans are in place for Grant to take over for his father.

"[Dan's] presence may not physically be in Cleveland like it was prior to [the stroke], coming into 30-plus games a year or whatever it was, but his presence in the business, in the culture, and kind of how we're operating, he's absolutely still the author of all those things," president of business operations Nick Barlage told The Athletic.

Grant told Lloyd and Vardon he's not on a "linear path" to the front office's top role and doesn't have any decision-making power when it comes to basketball operations.

"I'm involved to the extent that I'm in the know," he said. "I don't try to help make decisions. I don't even pretend to try to make decisions when I know I don't have the credibility or experience to do so."

The Athletic report noted Grant, who graduated from the University of Michigan last May, has made "increased" contact with the team's front-office basketball executives while his dad is in Florida for the winter continuing his recovery.

That includes Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman, but Grant said those conversations typically don't revolve around trade ideas or free-agent signings.

"He and I have always had a good relationship," Grant said. "We text every day about stuff that has nothing to do with Cavs basketball."

Dan, 59, acquired a majority ownership stake in the franchise in March 2005. He quickly became one of the NBA's most hands-on executives, but he's been less visible since the stroke.

Two of his business partners, Jay Farner and Matt Rizik, have stepped in to preside over many of the duties Gilbert had previously handled, per Lloyd and Vardon.

The team also has two minority owners, Cleveland businessman Gordon Gund and singer Usher Raymond.

With the future of the franchise unsettled, it's worth noting Cavs legend LeBron James, who guided the team to its first NBA title in 2016, is an Ohio native who's expressed interest in NBA ownership.

"My goal is to own an NBA franchise," James told reporters last week. "It'll be sooner than later."

The four-time NBA MVP currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and continues to perform at an All-Star level at age 36, suggesting it may be a while before he's ready to end his playing career.