April 23, 2014

The Dan Gilbert/Kelly Dwyer Rift Reaches Bizarre Levels as Cavs Top Kings

The Cleveland Cavaliers won their thirteenth game of the season on Wednesday night as the Wine and Gold outscored the Sacramento Kings by 10 points in the second half, ultimately winning 97-93.

Evidently, said 13th win was largely coveted.  Not only is it a prime number (which is inherently cool), setting the stage for a potential 17 total wins for the season, but 13 is also exactly one more win than Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer had predicted in his team preview back in the early fall. Twitter-using Cavalier fans of all shapes and sizes took to the e-streets, pointing fingers at Dwyer in celebration of this the magical accomplishment, understandable on the basis a home team victory.

What was not great was that Cavaliers’ principle owner Dan Gilbert was one of those pointing fingers, potentially taking things a bit too far.

Launching some unfiltered shrapnelat Dwyer, Gilbert responded to assuming Cavalier fans in the form of retweets: “Who is Kellie Dwyer?” Gilbert asked. “Really, how long has Kellie been writing? I’ve never heard of her.”

As many Cavalier fans know, Dwyer is a longtime contributor – recently-named editor – of Yahoo! Sports’ NBA blog “Ball Don’t Lie.”  He is also the man who, despite his seemingly political-based disdain for Gilbert as a person and businessman, forecasted the Cavaliers to win 12 games on the basis of a complete tear-down operation. The Cavs instead managed to produce the league’s worst record to date merely based on injuries and an influx of undrafted rookies earning substantial playing time; a similar endpoint just via alternative routes.

Dwyer has often been criticized (mostly by Clevelanders and fans of the Cavaliers) for letting his personal bias of Gilbert get in the way of his writing – he recently criticized the Cavaliers for trading Mo Williams for Baron Davis though the move was made predominantly for the sake of acquiring an unprotected lottery selection, a move which many pundits (ESPN’s John Hollinger and Chad Ford, for instance) would applaud.  Dwyer has stated that Cleveland and Cavalier fans alike deserve better than Gilbert (citing the perceived mishandling the LeBron James situation, his letter on the night of The Decision, etc), though many continue to tand by their team’s owner as he continues to achieve a complete rebuild.

Gilbert has fielded many questions, most early on in the season, about Dwyer’s 12-win prediction. The Cleveland Plain Dealerinterviewed Dwyer several weeks ago to discuss the piece that is still widely discussed despite the season nearing end.  There is always a chance that Gilbert – the owner of multiple business ventures – does not have the fortune of remembering the author of every Cavs-related piece that has been penned, but to say that he is unaware of this specific publication would be considerably far-fetched.

Ramon Sessions produced 20 points, five rebounds and six assists in the Cavaliers’ first win in five games; Luke Harngody added 15 points and eight rebounds off of the bench. Unfortunately, it will be all for naught as the rest of the world will focus on the fact that 13 is somehow immensely greater than 12 (and we still have a three-win cushion!!) and that the team’s owner stooped to a potential lowest common denominator following the win.

(Editor’s note: We often criticize those who hurl grenades in this lovely Internet of ours.  And while this author does not think Gilbert was being sexist in his Tweets directed towards Dwyer, playing the “who is (s)he” card is a bit uncalled for given the journalist-journalism subject dichotomy.)

(AP Photo/Thearon Henderson)

  • stin4u

    I dig Dan Gilbert for this exact reason. He’s unfiltered like Cuban is. I hate this age of cookie cutter answers and dime a dozen reactions you could literally script if you knew the questions ahead of time. Sure people are going to look down their noses and he’ll probably get ripped by PTI on the All Heat All The Time network but I could care less. Stuff like this proves how much Dan cares as an owner.

  • stin4u

    couldn’t care less* sorry, I hate that.

  • Harv 21

    Great, Dan. Now that I get the 8th grade mindset, here’s tomorrow’s suggested tweet:

    “Luv shirt kellys wearing today. does it also come in a mens? lol”

  • The Conductor

    Harv 21 – Dan Gilbert will consume you like a fire and spit you out like your mom on rent day.

    also, not even I know what that means.

    also, happy st patricks day.

  • Jason

    Scott – I’m with you in that I’m going to keep my champagne corked. Beating a low-ball projection of 12 wins is not cause for celebration. Although, in retrospect, Dwyer’s prediction was pretty darn close…

  • mgbode

    man, we need MTV to resurrect their ‘Death Match’ series for this one.

  • DK45

    The quality of Ball Don’t Lie has plummeted since J.E. Skeets left. Dwyer admitted in an interview that he made the 12 wins predictions partly to be contrarian, and he has succeeded in stirring up a lot of attention over it. His coverage of the Cavs this season has been bizarre, but better to ignore him than let his shock jock approach to the Cavs whip us into a frenzy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/boxoflewine Eli

    Gilbert can be as immature as he wants as long as he spends on the Cavs.

    Dwyer has done nothing that merits my interest. He is an alright sports blogger, but nothing particularly unique in terms of product or analysis.

    Honestly, if you haven’t switched your (non-cleveland specific) basketball blog attention to the TBJ stuff, there isn’t much help for you.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Hey, cool. Dan Gilbert is acting like a child again.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    @stin4u — I agree on both points. I can hardly blame Gilbert as well. If someone’s going to attack me, I’m going to fire back.

    And I also HATE it when people say “I could care less”.

    As far as this guy’s prediction being so accurate, I only buy that if he had some kind of crystal ball that showed him 3 starters suffering significant injuries and missing time all season long.

  • mmonast

    Screw Dwyer and BDL that piece after the baron Davis trade is all I need to know about that hack

  • Spencer

    DK45 got it exactly right.

    BDL has totally taken a turn for the worse after J.E. left. All Gilbert hate aside, Kelly is not a good writer… at all. Most of the time I have trouble reading his “articles” due to all the spelling and grammar errors.

  • Vince

    What is it with you people being so serious? How can you not laugh at Dan Gilbert’s tweets? Doesn’t anybody have a sense of humor anymore?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    I think it’s a mistake to slight Dwyer’s writing as a whole. He is still the most knowledgeable NBA blogger out there and when a trade is made, his opinion is the one I am almost always immediately interested in.

    However, I have been crushed by his coverage of the Cavaliers over the last 2-3 seasons. Unfortunately, he has shown no ability to hide his political/personal dislike of Gilbert and it just bleeds through every supposed analytical thing he write about the Cavaliers. It’s a shame he can’t give us the same quality of coverage as he gives to most other teams.

    As for this specific situation, I think both sides are in the wrong. One of the two needs to just take the high road. But instead, KD laughably tries to act like he’s just the victim in all of this, as though Gilbert is wrong for taking offense to Dwyer’s vitriolic personal attacks. Gilbert would be well served to ignore KD, but unfortunately he keeps playing right into Dwyer’s hand and giving him more opportunities to demonstrate what a bad guy he thinks Gilbert is. It’s just all around sad.

  • Boomhauertjs

    Maybe Quicken Loans repossessed Dwyer’s house and that’s why he hates Gilbert so much.

  • Shamrock

    Little Napoleon strikes again. I’ll be interested to see how long this guys act remains “cute” in Cleveland as the losses pile up. IMO he tries to much to be like Mark Cuban. I’m just glad he doesn’t do anymore telecasts along his mouthpiece Fred McLoud. That was enough to make me gag!

  • http://www.twitter.com/davepurcell Dave P.

    I respect Andrew’s opinion, but Dwyer can’t hold a candle to Henry Abbott at TrueHoop.

    He’s an average analyst, a mediocre writer, and a Jim Rome-style attention-seeking jackoff. He got exactly what he wanted out of the 12-win prediction: lots of attention.

    I love Gilbert for taking him on. One guy owns an NBA franchise, the other guy is a lousy blogger: really, is there any question who wins that one?

  • Jordan

    Dwyer is a hack, plain and simple. He bashed Gilbert, claiming the Quicken Loans boss was responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crash while totally ignoring the fact that Quicken Loans did not get in on the sub-prime craze and weathered the recession better than the vast majority of lenders and banks that did. With his garbage politics and class warfare permeating his writing so much, he’d be better suited to write for the Huffington Post or Daily Kos.

    Ball Don’t Lie’s days of relevance died with Skeets’s departure, ESPN’s Bayless and Jacobson did not object AT ALL to Jalen’s “Uncle Tom” remark, and Windhorst is lost in South Beach covering a #3 seed. What happened to good, honest basketball journalism?

  • james

    You don’t think it is sexist? How is denigrating someone by comparing him to a woman not sexist?

  • eldaveablo

    Ball don’t lie is the blog equivalent of the Nat’l Enquirer – and considering the blog garbage out there, it’s saying a lot. Remember, the Enquirer gets its fair share of scoops – intermixed with constant garbage and shock value.

    Would I prefer if Gilbert took a better tone? Sure. Do I really care? No. He owns an NBA team, and he can do whatever he wants with it and his position. The Cavs have done pretty damned well in acquiring picks and stripping the team down. Anyone that spews as much negativity as Dwyer, and has crazy expectations for trades they should have made should maybe look into fiction writing, or commenting on how someone plays a season of NBA Live on PS3.

  • eldaveablo

    @ Jordan #17 – Good journalism doesn’t get ratings or hits as much as shock value. That translates into fewer advertising dollars. “Journalism” has become entertainment, pure and simple.

  • yuckabuck

    Celtic fan living in central Ohio here-
    From day one Kelly Dwyer said his 12 game prediction was based on the thought that Cleveland would immediately rebuild. (I’m so glad to see this blog mention the that.) I don’t understand the Cav’s fans who seem to lack reader comprehension and continually bring this up as if he meant 12 wins no matter what. Cav’s fans that I know all point to the draft pick that they got with the Baron trade. But what about the draft picks that were missed because Jamison and Varejao are still on the team? What if the pick they got doesn’t pan out, but someone else in the draft turns into the next Jordan, someone the Cavs could have had with additional trades?
    Kelly Dwyer has been right in just about everything he has said basketball wise about the Cavs. Sorry, it’s true.

  • Nick

    Kelly Dwyer is really one of the most annoying sports bloggers with his incredibly overwritten articles and his insistence on being a contrarian dick. That’s pretty much his tactic for drawing eyeballs. Which is perfectly fine, but the consequence of that is he should be prepared to get some heat in return.

    Henry Abbott makes guys like Dwyer look like total hacks… BDL still has some good pieces but none are written by KD.

  • Jordan

    @ eldaveablo #19 – Yeah, you’re right. I guess good writing died with Stieg Larsson.

  • LaundroMat

    #19 is right, and I can’t say I have any idea what is meant by “a bit uncalled for given the journalist-journalism subject dichotomy.”

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com Off The Backboard

    Dwyer is a condescending guy of a writer that thinks he is better than he is, so Gilbert calling him out is awesome on many levels.