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Cavs owner Dan Gilbert texted Tyronn Lue to try new things at times

Dan Gilbert, Tyronn Lue

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been through the proverbial ringer this season, and that’s not an exaggeration. At the outset of their 2017-18 campaign, the team already had a new dynamic, as Kyrie Irving had been traded to the Boston Celtics. In came Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets.

And away they went… some new faces, some familiar.

As the regular season drummed on, the Cavs continued to deal with curves in the road, including a roster overhaul at the trade deadline that saw six players sent off (Thomas, Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose).

In came George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood — another bend in the road.

By the end of the regular season, the Cavs had used 30 different starting lineups. You might think that sort of inconsistency in the rotation would lead to dysfunction, and at times it did. Overall, though, Cleveland finished just one win shy of their 2016-17 record (with Kyrie) and a No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. And here they are in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Were there bumps in the road? You bet. Injuries to several key players, a team meeting, a bowl of soup thrown.

As most fans of the team know, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue took an excused leave of absence to deal with health concerns in the latter stages of the regular season. He took quite a bit of flak from fans and analysts this season, deserved or not. Head assistant coach Larry Drew did a fine job in Lue’s stead, recording a 9-1 record at the helm.

In a recent interview with Joe Vardon of, coach Lue noted that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was in his ear with suggestions through it all, daring him to be different.

“Dan Gilbert told me … you’ve gotta try new things,” Lue told Vardon. “Like, in business you gotta try new things. If it works, you’re a genius, if not, you change and do something else. I just think you gotta try things and kinda see how your team reacts to it.”

In a recently-revealed text message from earlier this season, viewed by, Gilbert told coach Lue: “Philosophically, sometimes I think we should NOT be afraid to fail as much as we seem to be.”

Though they’ve seemingly had several seasons balled into one, the Cavs have managed to persevere. Now let’s see where this winding road leads.

The Land