NBA

Cavs owner optimistic about future of NBA, team

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he's optimistic about the future of the NBA and his team after the end of the lockout.

Gilbert spoke prior to Sunday night's 98-82 win over the New Jersey Nets.

Gilbert says the Cavaliers were one of the teams that voted yes on the new agreement between owners and players, which he called ''fair overall,'' and thought the two sides reached a compromise.

''Did we get everything we wanted?'' Gilbert said. ''Probably not, but that's probably something both sides would say. ''There were a handful of teams that voted `No,' and we weren't one of them.''

Gilbert took issue with being portrayed as a hard-liner on the NBA Board of Governors, which voted 25-5 to ratify the CBA, saying the ''blackout'' all owners were under made him unable to state his position to the public.

''It was very difficult,'' he said. ''Sometimes the way the Cavaliers and I were represented was inaccurate and wrong. I'm glad it's over now. The season's here and it's behind us.''

Gilbert also said he was disappointed his email to commissioner David Stern protesting the proposed trade that would have sent New Orleans guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers was leaked to the media.

Stern voided the trade and Paul was eventually dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.

''The lesson will be when you get off an airplane, to check the Internet first before you go send an email because if I would have checked I would have seen he had already made his decision hours before,'' Gilbert said. ''Owners are always making statements and having opinions between them. I was shocked (his email was leaked).''

Gilbert admitted the Cavaliers, who finished 19-63 last season, are in a rebuilding period. He says he likes the early development of rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.

''Last year was a tough year because it was a transitional year,'' Gilbert said. ''We didn't have so many prospects we have now. You never know how fast it's going to go. You've got to love watching these kids develop.''

Irving was the draft's top overall pick. The 19-year-old point guard has been impressive in his introduction to the NBA.

''It's hard to believe he's a teenager,'' Gilbert said. ''I think of my kids being 14 or 15 years old and I look at him and say he's only four or five years older. He's such a mature kid. I think he'll be a big part of our franchise going forward.''

Tagged: Cavaliers, Clippers

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