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Report: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert behind trade impasse with Celtics

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics on Wednesday finally completed the mega-trade highlighted by the exchange of superstar guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. In the aftermath of the protracted saga, rumor has it that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was behind the delay.

The Celtics ultimately sweetened the deal by adding a second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. All told, Boston shipped Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round pick and the aforementioned second-rounder in exchange for Irving.

A report amid the stalemate earlier this week suggested that the Cavaliers orchestrated the impasse, presumably in an effort to squeeze more assets out of the Celtics by questioning the condition of Thomas’ injured hip.

A new report suggests it was Gilbert who was behind it all.

Here’s The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on the topic, in which the notion that new Cavs general manager Koby Altman was the one pulling the strings is discounted and dismissed.

Koby Altman may be the latest person to call himself Cleveland Cavaliers general manager—the fourth in the last 12 years since Dan Gilbert bought the team—but multiple sources have told me that the Cavs owner was the one calling the shots on the trade that sent Irving to Boston, and he’s the one dealing with the fallout.

Gilbert’s dysfunctional ways are old news. Gilbert himself joked during Altman’s introductory presser that his GMs have four-year presidential terms. “A state of organizational chaos is Gilbert’s M.O.,” one executive told me. “Gilbert thinks he’s the protagonist in the story of the Cavaliers, when, in reality, he’s the antagonist.”

Gilbert without question is one of the more active NBA owners when it comes to getting involved in the day-to-day operations of their organization. So, it shouldn’t be all that surprising Gilbert may have played an influential — and evidently disruptive — role in the finalizing of the trade with Boston.