CLEVELAND -- LeBron James will soon have a new boss.
Detroit mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert will be introduced as the
Cleveland Cavaliers next owner on Tuesday. The club has scheduled
an afternoon news conference at Gund Arena to introduce Gilbert,
who purchased the club for $375 million, and announce the ownership
On Monday, the NBA's board of governors concluded its vote to
approve the sale to the 42-year-old Gilbert. He needed the consent
of 23 of the league's 30 owners to assume control of the team,
which Gordon Gund has owned since 1983.
Gund is staying on as a minority owner in a group that includes
Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Usher. Gund will retain at least a
10-percent stake in the club.
During the first quarter of Monday night's game against the San
Antonio Spurs, Gund, who is blind, walked to mid-court accompanied
by his wife, Lulie, and his brother, George, and thanked Cleveland
fans for their support.
"We're about to kick back now and become enthusiastic fans like
all of you," said Gund, who was then given a standing ovation.
Usher's interest has James excited.
"That's pretty good that a person like that would even know
about our franchise," James said. "It's great that a person like
that would want to be part of Cleveland basketball. I don't know
Gilbert, founder of Livonia, Mich.-based Quicken Loans, the
nation's largest online mortgage company, finalized his deal to buy
the Cavaliers and the controlling rights to their downtown arena
from Gund on Jan. 3.
Since then, Gilbert has been assembling an ownership group that includes David B. Katzman, vice chairman of Quicken Loans; Gund and
Usher. All four will be present at Tuesday's news conference.
The team that Gilbert bought is in much better shape than the
one Gund took over 22 years ago when he and his brother George
purchased the Cavaliers from Ted Stepien for $20 million. That deal
saved the franchise from moving.
Led by James, the Cavaliers are currently in second place in the
Central Division, four games behind the defending NBA champion
Detroit Pistons. Barring a complete collapse, Cleveland is on track
to qualify for the NBA playoffs for the first time since 1998.
The league's expected approval is the final step in a process
that included a thorough background check of Gilbert. He's being
awarded the team despite a past that included an arrest for running
a bookmaking ring while he was a student at Michigan State in the
Gilbert was accused of conspiring to violate state gambling
laws. He was fined, given three years' probation and ordered to do
100 hours of community service. The felony was dropped after he
completed the sentences.