The Cleveland Cavaliers fortunes turned around when team owner Dan Gilbert stopped "being Dan."
In response to Gilbert's scathing letter trashing LeBron James' leaving Cleveland in 2010, Gilbert's secretary said he was just "being Dan." In the last year we witnessed a remarkable transformation where the "old Dan" was replaced by a "new Dan," which has lead to what we are witnessing today. Gone are the days of feeling entitled and drunk with the sense of power. The "new Dan" sees his Cavaliers from a new win-win-win perspective where the city of Cleveland wins, the team wins and Gilbert wins.
Gilbert replaced his coach with one respected throughout the world for winning championships with different teams and players. David Blatt has been there and seen that. Then Gilbert went out to get the best players available to surround James with and give Cleveland its best chance at winning their first basketball title. He did it from a business view of return on investment. He has invested so much into the franchise, that marginal dollars are not stopping him from preserving the value of his precious team.
Pat Riley is still "being Pat," carrying around an albatross of imagined insults and petty grievances. Time for Riley to bury the hatchet and look at the picture as a whole. What best for Miami, for the Heat, and for him?
Miami needs a championship basketball team, because the football, baseball and hockey teams have not been relevant for decades. Whatever happens, Miami will always be Wade county.
The Heat's franchise value took a hit with the departure of James. To "save" marginal dollars and risk losing major dollars, the Dwyane Wade decision is a no-brainer. The franchise has too much invested in it to let its name brand be tarnished.
Just to build AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat organization spent $213 million, and that was in 1999 dollars.
As a matter of fact, the taxpayers of Miami are subsidizing the Heat team. According to Deadspin, the Heat paid their first rent check in 2013 since the construction of the arena blocks away from the old Miami Arena.
According to the article, the figures are:
The arena turned a $30 million cash profit this year. That includes only concessions, suites, and club seats, not any of the much higher profits from merchandising, TV revenue, and general admission seats.
- Of that, the Heat took $14 million toward paying off construction costs.
- The Heat also took an additional $1.3 million to cover the cost of facility upgrades.
- The Heat then pocketed another $14 million, as per the terms of the lease.
- The agreement stipulates that the team gets 60 percent of what remains.
Oh, and the Heat are looking for an increase in the annual subsidy the team receives from the county. They want it more than doubled, to $17 million a year.
According to the Miami Herald article Deadspin is referring to, "under its original deal with Miami-Dade, the Heat deducts $14 million a year from profits as it pays itself back for financing costs tied to construction of the $240 million arena."
The Heat pay practically no rent and in the end get back ALL the money it spent on building the arena. Sweet deal.
As Gilbert says, the marginal dollars pale to what is invested into the team. Besides, considering how much Miami taxpayers are footing the bill, even though people from neighboring counties and around the world are enjoying the product and funneling money into the Heat organization, without a proportional share going to the people of Miami.
Looking at the picture from another angle, the taxpayers of Miami appear to be chipping in to help to pay any luxury taxes.
Pat Riley's legacy is riding on the line. Does he want to go off into sunset seen as yesterday's hero, or in a blaze of glory?