Cavs' owner claims he's moved on from LeBron
CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert expects Cleveland fans to be boisterous but behave when LeBron James returns this week.
Gilbert isn’t anticipating any trouble on Thursday night for James’ first visit as a member of the Miami Heat. The Cavs will have extra security in Quicken Loans Arena to ensure that James is protected.
“You don’t want to see anything stupid happen,” Gilbert said at halftime of Cleveland’s game Tuesday night against Boston. “I don’t want to see anybody do something they shouldn’t do, whether it was Thursday night or any night. I’m sure a lot of them will make their feelings known, but as long as everybody plays by the rules and doesn’t go over the top, everything will be fine.
“I really believe that Cleveland people will do the right thing.”
WATCH NBC SPORTS COVERAGE OF LeBRON:
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James left the Cavs as a free agent in July after playing seven seasons for Cleveland. After the two-time league MVP left, Gilbert criticized James’ decision and accused him of quitting in last season’s playoffs. Gilbert was fined $100,000 by NBA commissioner David Stern for his comments.
With some of the league’s most passionate fans, the Cavaliers have enjoyed a huge home-court advantage in recent years. James is about to experience it for the first time as a visitor, and will undoubtedly be booed and taunted.
Gilbert’s expectations are that it will be an emotional night.
“I’m sure it’ll be loud and exciting and people have a lot of pent up emotion,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be anything that’s outrageous, extraordinary that we haven’t seen in sports history.”
During James’ stay in Cleveland, the Cavaliers had their most successful run in franchise history. They won two division titles, the Eastern Conference championship and made the NBA finals in 2007. Gilbert was asked if it was a shame the Cavs can’t celebrate all James helped them achieve.
“The run was good, but we didn’t finish the job,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, we didn’t succeed like we needed to. Hopefully this new era will.”
James said he has moved on from James’ departure, and is as focused as ever in keeping the Cavs near the top.
“I’m over it. I really am. That’s the truth,” he said. “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.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.