"Where's Dan? Where's Dan Gilbert?" Trump said as photographers snapped photos of the Cubs team standing next to the president and the Commissioner's Trophy in the Roosevelt Room. "He's right outside. Grab him. Where's Dan? Dan Gilbert just came in. He's from basketball. He's looking for a good basketball player. Anybody play basketball?"
Gilbert shouted back, "Yeah, we're looking for a couple guys."
"Come here, Dan," Trump said. "Come over here, Dan. Don't be shy. Do you want a good baseball player to play basketball?"
"So, Dan owns the Cavaliers and I guess you can't say 'great' season, right?" Trump said. "'Good' season. Last year was a great season, right?"
Once Gilbert joined the group in the front of the room, Trump turned to Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and said, "So, ask him, how is he doing with LeBron (James)?"
Gilbert appeared uncomfortable being put on the spot and said simply, "Things are good." Trump then called Gilbert, "a great friend of mine, a huge supporter and a great guy."
Among the Eastern Conference teams, the Miami Heat remains one of the few organizations where players feel comfortable dealing with the front office. Indiana Pacers had their own problems with the legendary Larry Bird,
The 60-year-old Hall-of-Famer finally told the rest of the world Monday: He was stepping down as Indiana's president of basketball operations, turning the reins over to Kevin Pritchard and staying in the Pacers organization as a scout and consultant.
The New York Knicks and Phil Jackson parted ways. The Chicago Bulls trade of Jimmy Butler was so widely panned that the SBnation’s Bulls blog wrote ”Jimmy Butler trade grades are so bad, it would put the Bulls on academic probation.”
At this crucial point in the off-season, NBA players often make life-changing decisions, which not only affect themselves, but their families as well. Sure Miami’s known for South Beach and no state taxes, but the city’s diverse culture offers numerous resources for raising a family and enjoying a quality lifestyle.
Erik Spoelstra, who comes from Portland on the West Coast, is fast becoming known as the Eastern Conference’s version of Gregg Popovich. Having Shane Battier along with Pat Riley in the room with Gordon Hayward, adds another articulate voice to the professional image of the Miami Heat organization. Not to mention the gravitas Alonzo Mourning brings to the table.
The Celtic’s aim to pair Hayward with Paul George could hit a snag, because the Houston Rockets are looking to lure George for a super-team with him alongside James Harden and Chris Paul. Boston’s chances of getting PG aren’t great because of their cap space problems and competition from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and now, the Rockets for the third wheel.
We’ll see as time goes on whether Battier, with his impressive speaker’s credentials, becomes more of a force in attracting players to 601 Biscayne Blvd. Nick Arison is shrewdly building a great organization behind the scenes, as well as on the court.