After clinching his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance with a win over the Celtics, James appeared to snub Gilbert on his way to celebrating, leading to speculation — already rampant all season — that the King could bolt Cleveland as a free agent this summer for the second time in his career.
When James took his talents to South Beach in 2010, Gilbert published a letter in which he called the now-three-time NBA Finals MVP “cowardly,” “narcissistic” and “heartless.” However, James was still willing to return to his native state in 2014, and has since led the Cavaliers to four straight NBA Finals appearances, including the city’s first championship in 52 years (2016).
“It’s not about me and Dan — we have a great working relationship,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “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, OK, 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.”
But would James’ relationship with Gilbert play a role in his decision this summer?
“We’re going to see,” James said.