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Cavs owner credits LeBron, trades for Finals run

OAKLAND, Calif. — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took to Twitter shortly before the start of Game 1 of the NBA Finals to give credit, as he sees it, regarding how the Cavs are just four wins away from a championship after a season rife with turmoil.

Not surprisingly, Gilbert started his praise with LeBron James, the Cavs superstar who followed up an MVP-caliber regular season by averaging 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 8.8 rebounds through the first three rounds of the playoffs to help the Cavs reach their fourth straight Finals.

It came a day after James commented on the dynamic between him and Gilbert in an exclusive sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

“Our relationship has always been a working relationship,” James said. “And we was able to mend the things that went on in the past when I came back. He apologized to me and my family and things of that nature. … We have a great working relationship. It’s not like we’re not the best friends and I don’t think you should be best friends with a player and an owner shouldn’t be best friends unless I’m your father and that’s my son, and, okay, cool we could be great then. But I think it’s worked out for us both in these four years so far since I’ve been back.”

Gilbert then commended the rest of the Cavs’ core rotation players by name before finishing his thought by highlighting Cavs rookie general manager Koby Altman, who orchestrated two major trades in a six-month span, by first trading Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in August and then sending six players out – including Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the Celtics deal — and welcoming in four new players in at the trade deadline in February.

Gilbert’s choice to include the first trade as a positive outcome — a deal that’s been widely panned, especially with the Brooklyn Nets‘ first round pick from the deal only ending up No. 8 in the lottery — could have been influenced by James revisiting the Irving trade with Nichols.

“I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard,” James said. “A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years and obviously I wasn’t a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides but I just felt like it was bad timing for our team to just get rid of our point guard in Kyrie Irving.”

Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery in April and missed the entire playoff run for the Boston Celtics, which ended in a Game 7 loss to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals. Thomas also underwent season-ending hip surgery after being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers.

George Hill, acquired from the Sacramento Kings in February, averaged 13 points per game in the Cavs’ four wins in the conference finals.

Later, at halftime, Gilbert added a tweet to the chain by recognizing Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and the rest of his coaching staff.

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