Skip to main content

Stephen A. Smith: Dan Gilbert "Doesn't Mind The Thought Of LeBron James Leaving At All"

LeBron James walks out of a press conference.

LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday morning, and at the moment, fans of pretty much every NBA team are hoping that James decides he wants to play in their city for their franchise. Oddly enough, one prominent owner may actually be hoping that James doesn't play for his team next year.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reported Friday morning that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert does not have a good relationship with James - and that he actually "doesn't mind" the idea of James leaving the franchise this offseason. Smith says that Gilbert perhaps feels "stuck" with James.

Reminder - James has taken the Cavaliers to four consecutive NBA Finals - and won one of them a few years back. He's one of the greatest players of all-time.

"This notion that Dan Gilbert and LeBron James still get along so exceptionally well, that's not what I've been hearing. One of the things that I've been hearing as this period closes in Max, is that Dan Gilbert, according to a couple of owners I've spoken to and a few executives I've spoken to, Dan Gilbert is known for not being particularly fond of LeBron James.

He doesn't mind the thought of LeBron James leaving at all. Matter of fact, I had one executive tell me 'excuse me, I can't wait until he leaves because I'll get my team back.' This is something that Dan Gilbert has actually echoed. So we need to take that into consideration. This is a person that views himself as being stuck with LeBron James as opposed to somebody salivating and craving that he stays."

Here's the clip, via First Take:

It's no secret that Gilbert and James have had an up-and-down relationship over the years. But if Gilbert doesn't want James, it's hard to see the NBA superstar deciding he wants to stay put and play for the franchise again.